Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Hermetia illucens - Black Soldier Fly

Black Soldier Fly - Hermetia illucens Hermetia illucens Soldier Fly - Hermetia illucens Hermetia illucens fly080417 - Hermetia illucens Fly - Hermetia illucens Unknown insect - Hermetia illucens ID Request - Large black flies in the central Virginia (Charlottesville) area.  - 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.