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.
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)
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)
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.