Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

Information, insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa


Species Hermetia illucens - Black Soldier Fly

fly - Hermetia illucens Need help with wasp ID - Hermetia illucens fly ? odd eye color and pattern - Hermetia illucens Robber fly 062616bar - Hermetia illucens i.d. help needed. Diptera? - Hermetia illucens Black Soldier Fly - Hermetia illucens Insect with see through segment. - Hermetia illucens fly071619-4 - Hermetia illucens
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon (Orthorrhapha)
Infraorder Stratiomyomorpha
Family Stratiomyidae (Soldier flies)
Subfamily Hermetiinae
Genus Hermetia
Species illucens (Black Soldier Fly)
Other Common Names
In Australia the species is called the American Soldier Fly.
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Hermetia illucens (Linnaeus)
Orig. Comb: Musca illucens Linnaeus 1758
Explanation of Names
illucens (L). 'shining in, illuminating' (refers to the window-like areas on the abdomen)
15-20 mm (NCSU)
Large soldier fly, all black with bright white tarsi. Underneath, first abdominal segment has clear areas. Wings have purplish sheen. Likely a wasp mimic, it buzzes loudly.
e US to CA, also OR, WA (BG data)
Wide ranging in Western Hemisphere, also in Australasia, Africa, Japan, Europe. Commercially distributed for composting.
commonly breeds in outdoor toilets, compost and in poultry manure. Larvae occur in greatest densities in moist rather than wet or dry media. (NCSU)
adults mostly fly: May-Oct (BG data)
Life Cycle
Larvae live in compost, dung, rotting vegetation
Though they may be a nuisance, soldier flies do not bite and are not known to transmit any diseases. In fact, this species has the beneficial effect of rendering the breeding media less suitable for the production of house flies. (NCSU)
Print References
Tomberlin J., Sheppard C., Joyce J.A. (2005) Black soldier fly (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) colonization of pig carrion in South Georgia. J. Forensic Sci. 50(1): 152-153.
Internet References
Fact sheets: NCSU | TAMU | Oregon St.