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Soldier Fly (Ptecticus trivittatus)


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



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Solider Flies are brilliant mimics of wasps and bees, but they do not sting and are so tiny, they may be difficult to find.



Updated: 07/13/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
This species of Soldier Fly can be found in woods, gardens, and parks, with populations of adults hovering or standing over rotting plant matter. They are very small in size. These Solider Flies are not pests and do not seem interested in humans or their buildings like House Flies. They have been seen on compost heaps, piles of grass clippings, and other decomposing vegetation. Females lay fertilized eggs on the plant matter, so they are also called Compost Flies. Maggots are also small and tan in color with ten segments to their worm-like bodies. The Solider Fly maggots eat the compost and their presence may deter other types of pesky flies from inhabiting the same area. Adults are believed to drink flower nectar.



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


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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Diptera
        Family: Stratiomyidae
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          Genus: Ptecticus
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            Species: trivittatus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Ptecticus trivittatus
Other Name(s): Compost Fly
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 7mm (0.23" to 0.27")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, orange, yellow, green
Descriptors: flying, wasp-like
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 6mm (0.2in) and 7mm (0.3in)
Lo: 6mm
Md: 6.5mm
Hi: 7mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
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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 Soldier 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 Soldier Fly. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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