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Common Greenbottle Fly (Lucilia sericata)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Common Greenbottle Fly



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The metallic green Common Greenbottle Fly can bring help, health, or harm depending on who you are talking to.



Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Adult Common Greenbottle Flies drink nectar and help pollinate crops like broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, onions, and kale. Adults are a metallic green color. Some have shades of yellow on their shiny bodies. All have black hairs sparsely covering the body and large red eyes. The timing of this species' life cycle is well-studied and useful information thanks to its diet and habitat.

Common Greenbottle Fly larvae eat from the carcasses of dead animals. Knowing the size and life stage of the maggots makes their presence at a crime scene useful in timing the decomposition of corpses. This species of adults is one of the first flies to arrive on a corpse. Thanks to short lives, they move through various life stages in days, not weeks or years, offering valuable information to forensic teams. Maggots have also been used medicinally to clear rotting tissue from humans when surgical options are ineffective or impossible. When placed in an infected, necrotic area, the maggots carefully devour the dead tissue, sparing the healthy tissue, thereby cleaning the wound. This same species, however, is detrimental to sheep. Larvae have caused sheep strike, a health concern created when they invade the healthy skin of sheep and cause sheep death if left untreated.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Fast insect icon
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Shiny insect icon


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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Diptera
        Family: Calliphoridae
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          Genus: Lucilia
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            Species: sericata
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Lucilia sericata
Other Name(s): Sheep Blow Fly
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 9mm to 10mm (0.35" to 0.39")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: green, yellow
Descriptors: fast, shiny, metallic, flying, hairy
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 9mm (0.4in) and 10mm (0.4in)
Lo: 9mm
Md: 9.5mm
Hi: 10mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
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State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
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State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Common Greenbottle Fly may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Common Greenbottle Fly. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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