Other Common Names
In Australia the species is called the American Soldier Fly.
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Orig. Comb: Musca illucens Linnaeus 1758
Explanation of Names
illucens (L). 'shining in, illuminating' (refers to the window-like areas on the abdomen)
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. See Trypoxylon politum
(left) and T. lactitarse
(right) as candidate model species.
e US to CA, also OR, WA (BG data)
Wide ranging in Western Hemisphere, also in Australasia, Africa, Japan, Europe. Commercially distributed for composting.
Probably native to tropical America, reaching Florida by 1881, New York City by 1945, and Ontario by 2007.
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)
Adults are capable of ingesting and processing food such as sugary media, as well as possibly regurgitation.
Larvae live in compost, dung, rotting vegetation
Though they may be a nuisance, soldier flies do not bite. (NCSU)
The claim that adults of these flies do not transmit agents of disease needs to be tested. As the adults can feed, possibly regurgitate, and produce excrement, it still remains possible that they can transmit pathogens like the house fly (Graczyk et al., 2001; Bruno et al., 2019).
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.
Marshall, S. A. et al. 2007. The historical spread of the black soldier fly Hermetia illucens
(L.) (Diptera, Stratiomyidae, Hermetiinae), and its establishment in Canada. Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario 146:51-54 (https://journal.lib.uoguelph.ca/index.php/eso/article/view/3696
Bruno, D., Bonelli, M., Cadamuro, A.G. (2019). The digestive system of the adult Hermetia illucens (Diptera: Stratiomyidae): morphological features and functional properties. Cell Tissue Res 378, 221–238.
Graczyk TK, Knight R, Gilman RH, Cranfield MR (2001) The role of non-biting flies in the epidemiology of human infectious diseases. Microbes Infect 3:231–235