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Calliphora latifrons: Wikis


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Calliphora latifrons
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Suborder: Brachycera
Infraorder: Muscomorpha
Subsection: Calyptratae
Superfamily: Oestroidea
Family: Calliphoridae
Subfamily: Calliphorinae
Genus: Calliphora
Species: C. latifrons
Binomial name
Calliphora latifrons
Hough, 1899

Calliphora latifrons (Hough) 1899 is better known as one of the bluebottle flies of the lineage of blow-flies. C. latifrons family, Calliphoridae, encompasses a group that is referred to as blow flies and this term involves greenbottle flies, and blue bottle flies.This species of bottle fly is of the Arthropod phylum, Insecta class, Diptera order, Calliphoridae family, and Eucalliphora genus. Although this calliphorid bears strong similarities to other members of family Calliphoridae, it has characteristics that may or may not be identified in other species of blow fly. These characteristics are important in understanding this species. Identifying features of this fly are similar to that of other calliphorids and are important in laboratory studies. This fly adheres to a particular environment and ecosystem that has limited geographic distributions in North America . Undisturbed, this environment fosters C. latifrons unique life cycle that somewhat differs from related blow flies. This life cycle can be utilized as a tool for Forensic applications such as postmortem interval determination. However, C. latifrons has not been widely used for forensic applications as of yet. Sister species to this blow fly like, Calliphora livida are more commonly utilized in the field of Forensic Entomology . Scientific research is beginning to incorporate C. latifrons into many more studies that include blow flies and bottle flies. Many scientific frontiers are focusing on critical molecular pathways and DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, sequencing of this species. To understand C. latifrons it’s unique characteristics must be understood as well. The following discusses these characteristics. [1][2]



Although C. latifrons is generally accepted as being the common reference to this species Musca ilerda Walker, 1849, Musca lilaea Walker, 1849, and Eucalliphora lilaea Walker, 1849 are all used as synonyms for this species . For simplicity, C. latifrons will be used in this entry to refer to this particular blue bottle fly.


When identifying the species of an insect the first step is to decide which order of insect the Entomologist has. To determine the order Diptera (flies) look for these identifying characteristics of adults, which are as follows[3]:

  • Wings present
  • Wings lacking on anterior notch or node on each wing
  • Hind legs similar in size to middle pair of legs; antennae various
  • Cerci filamentous or absent
  • One pair of wings present
  • Halters present behind wings

After identifying it as the order Diptera (flies), then the Entomologist need to narrow it down to a specific family. The family Calliphoridae can be identified by these characteristics[4]

  • Wings present, not tick-like in appearance
  • Antennae aristate; usually smaller flies (figure 1)
  • Hypopleural bristles present; color usually metallic (figure 2)
  • Dorsum of thorax with three dark longitudinal strips
  • Thorax dull, abdomen blue or green metallic
  • Squama dark, with hind margin of lower lobe pale, abdomen pollinose (figure 2)

After identifying the family now the Entomologist can completely narrow the fly down to a specific species. Calliphora latifrons can be identified by these characteristics[5]

  • Presutral intra-alar seta present; anterior thoracic spiracle usually with brown setae; abdomen usually metallic bluish with or without white micromentum
  • An orange anterior spiracle
  • Squama brown, margin often white (figure 2); frons of male narrower, at narrowest, usually .14 head width or less; usually not restricted to northern or high elevation areas
  • Facial ridge with row of short, stout, supravibrissal setae, ascending from the vibrissae to a point almost halfway to antennal base (figure 2); a second set of strong divergent ocellar setae about 2/3 the length of the anterior ocellars, surrounded by only a few sparse setae. Male denitalia shorter, with a chisel-shaped point. Frons of male broad, at narrowest, almost 2X width of parafacial at lunule, frons .24/12 head width; female frons .37/8 head width

Life cycle

Calliphora latifrons’s life cycle is similar to many others of the domestic flies. As with most diptera, the life cycle of this species, is extremely dependent of temperature. In general, species within the order Diptera undergo four stages, first being the eggs. These are deposited by the female into mostly moist, solid organic matter and are approximately 1/25 inch long. The eggs tend to be yellowish or white in color. This stage of the life cycle is by far the most susceptible as they typically hatch within a day and are particularly disposed to desiccation, or drying. C. latifrons undergoes an egg stage of about 27 hours.

The next stage is called the larval stage, or more commonly referred to as the maggot stage. This larva stage contains three stages of development, the first, second, and third instars. The legless maggots can be anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 inch in length. Each instar stage is divided by a molting, or shedding, event. Entomologists are able to determine the instar stages by inspecting the posterior spiracles of the larvae. The first instar lasts around 22 hours, the second 14 hours, and the third instar, which is the longest, at 36 hours. After the third instar, the larvae tend to move towards drier areas and burrow into hiding as they pupate. In between the third instar and the pupa stage, there is an intermediate stage known as the prepupa. The prepupa lasts about 92 hours for C. latifrons.

The third stage of the life cycle is known as the pupa stage, and is very similar in susceptibility to the egg stage. This pupa stage tends to last 6 days, and is characterized by its hard, brown casing, whereabouts the larva transitions to the adult stage. The total immature time for these flies is 13 days. [6][7]

Importance in forensic entomology

Forensic Entomology is the study of arthropod science in criminal matters. There are three fields of forensic entomology: urban, stored product, and medico-criminal. Calliphora latifrons is one of the most forensically important species of blow flies.

Urban entomology deals with the insects that affect humans and their immediate environment. This field includes a variety of problems for humans such as pest control issues and disease. C. latifrons is known to freely enter houses. There have been several cases where the flies enter homes and breed in the bodies of dead mice, resulting in larger amounts of flies. C. latifrons is also known for being a potential vector for disease. By ovipositing on their food as they feed the flies have the ability to transfer various pathogens.[8][9]

Medicocriminal entomology deals with the carrion feeding insects that infest human remains. This area relies on correctly identifying arthropod species, approximating the age of the insects to determine the initial colonization and comparing that information with known arrival patterns of the adult species. After identifying the insect(s) on the body, a time of death can be calculated, however, a forensic entomologist can never calculate an exact time of death, but rather a time span that tells them when that body was available for colonization. All this information gives investigators an estimation of a portion of the post mortem interval (PMI). C. latifrons usually breeds in small carcasses in rural areas. In only a few cases has it been found on human corpses. In February 2004, there was a case involving a dumped body in a rural area of San Jose, California. C. latifrons was found on a decaying corpse and helped investigators confirm how long the body had been there. C. latifrons is part of a group of carrion feeding flies in the western U.S. in which very little information exists.[10][11]

Future research

Because of its lack of importance in forensic research, there is not much research being presented with C. Latifrons as the specimen of choice. Possibilities of research in the field of maggot therapy are feasible. It falls in the same family as species commonly used such as Lucilia sericata. No studies have been shown to prove or disprove its benefits to the disinfection and healing of wounds.


Although Calliphora latifrons is not as popular as some of its’ sister species with respect to scientific studies and Forensic applications, it still provides a potential wealth of knowledge that applies to bottle flies, blow flies, and the family Calliphoridae. The unique characteristics of this fly allow for complete understanding of the biological importance of this species. Distribution patterns for this species help to connect this particular calliphorid to a distinct geographic region in North America. The life cycle for C. latifrons further guides understanding of how and when the insect reproduces. This species differs somewhat from other blowflies in its identification characteristics and should be taken into consideration for laboratory studies. Forensic applications using this particular species are limited as of now, but could be used in important post mortem interval estimations and accumulated degree day calculations as well as in domestic legalities. Current research on C. latifrons is focused mainly in the scientific realm. Investigation of this species on the molecular level may lead to more discoveries that rapidly uncover new tools for forensic and medical usage. Future studies should focus on new forensic applications and useful molecular patterns included in the life cycle of C. latifrons. In the future C. latifrons could very possibly be a front runner in medical research as well as medicocriminal entomology and more likely Urban entomology. [12][13]


  1. ^ Eucalliphora lilaea. 8 January 2009. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. 3 March 2009 <>
  2. ^ Eucalliphora latifrons. 10 April 2002. Bishop Museu-Arthropod Checklist Query Results. 28 February 2009…/species.a…
  3. ^ [Fundamental of Entomology Fifth Edition by Richard J. Elzinga; 2000]
  4. ^ [Domestic Flies: Pictorial Key to Common Species in the U.S. by H.R. Dodge]
  5. ^ Keys to the Genera and Species of Blowflies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) of America North of Mexico by Terry Whitworth
  6. ^
  7. ^ blowflies of north America
  8. ^ Byrd, J. H. "Forensic Entomology." http.//
  9. ^ Anderson, G. S. "Determining time of death using blow fly eggs in the early postmortem interval." Aug. 2004. PubMed. NBCI. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 25 Feb. 2009
  10. ^ Honda, Jeffrey Y.; Adrienne Brundage; Christopher Happy; Sean C. Kelly; and Judy Melinek. "New records of carrion feeding insects collected on human remains." 25 Oct. 2007. BioOne. 22 Feb. 2009
  11. ^ Norris, K. R. "The Bionomics of Blow Flies." Annual Review of Entomology 10 (1965): 47-68. Annual Reviews. 28 Feb. 2009
  12. ^ Global Biodiversity Information Facility database. 9 March 2009. Information on record GBIF80644291. 10 March 2009
  13. ^ Abstract. February 2009. CAT.INIST. 10 March 2009


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