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

Species Scathophaga stercoraria - Golden Dung Fly

Golden Dung Flies Mating, Scatophaga stercoraria - Scathophaga stercoraria - male - female predatory Golden Dung Fly - Scathophaga stercoraria Scathophaga stercoraria? - Scathophaga stercoraria - male - female 7009394  - Scathophaga stercoraria Scathophaga sp.? - Scathophaga stercoraria Scathophaga ? - Scathophaga stercoraria Unknown Diptera - Scathophaga stercoraria Fly - Scathophaga stercoraria
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon (Calyptratae)
Superfamily Muscoidea
Family Scathophagidae (Dung Flies)
Subfamily Scathophaginae
Genus Scathophaga
Species stercoraria (Golden Dung Fly)
Other Common Names
Yellow Dung Fly
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
First described in 1758 by Carolus Linnaeus as Musca stercoraria

Scatophaga stercoraria (A common spelling of the genus- correct as Greek, but incorrect as a scientific name)
Explanation of Names
SCATHOPHAGA: from the Greek skatos (σκατος) [a variant of skor (σκωρ)] (- "excrement" + phagein (φαγειεν)- "to eat"; refers to the larvae, which eat excrement [i.e. dung]
STERCORARIA: from the Latin stercoris- "of dung"; the larvae are found in dung
adult body length 7-9 mm
adult males are bright yellow or golden; females are usually grayer; both sexes very hairy on body and legs
throughout North America and the world
larvae found in/on dung of domestic and wild animals
adults found in the neighborhood of larval development sites (dung) which can be just about anywhere - pastures, meadows, woodlands, beside standing or running water, parks, gardens, etc.
spring through fall
larvae feed on dung
adults prey mostly on other fly species, and occasionally on other insects
Life Cycle
multiple generations per year, the number depending on latitude (more in the south; fewer in the north)
This species has been studied extensively in attempting to understand the importance of sperm competition in the evolution of male mating behavior.
Internet References
live adult image (Johannes Skaftason, Iceland)
live adult image of pair mating (Michel Vuijlsteke, Europe)
live adult photo and distribution (Iziko Museums of Cape Town, South Africa)
mechanism of sperm competition (Research project at U. of Zurich, Switzerland)
Linnaeus Systema Naturae, 10th edition, v.1, pt. 2. p. 599    Linnaeus' original description of the species (in Latin)