Antennae 3-segmented, with an arista; vein Rs 2-branched, frontal suture present, calypters well developed. Medium-sized flies with black and gray longitudinal stripes on the thorax and checkering on the abdomen. Arista commonly plumose on basal half; bare in a few species. Four notopleural bristles (short, long, short, long, from front to rear). Hindmost posthumeral bristle located even with or toward midline from presutural bristle.
The family contains three subfamilies, the Miltogramminae, the Paramacronychiinae and the Sarcophaginae, containing between them 108 genera. Flesh-flies are quite closely related to the family Calliphoridae, which belongs to the same (large) infraorder, the Muscomorpha, and includes species such as the blow-fly that have similar habits to the flesh-flies.
Flesh-flies, being viviparous, frequently give birth to live young on corpses of human and other animals, at any stage of decomposition from newly dead through to bloated or decaying (though the latter is more common).
The life cycle of flesh-fly larvae has been well researched and is very predictable. Different species prefer bodies in different states of decomposition, and the specific preferences and predictable life cycle timings allows forensic entomologists to understand the progress of decomposition and enables the calculation of the time of death by back extrapolation. This is done by determining the oldest larva of each species present, measuring the ambient temperature and from these values, calculating the earliest possible date and time for deposition of larvae. This yields an approximate time and date of death (d.o.d.) This evidence can be used in forensic entomology investigations and may assist in identification of a corpse by matching the calculated time of death with reports of missing persons. Such evidence has also been used to help identify murderers.
Flesh-flies can carry leprosy bacilli and can transmit intestinal pseudomyiasis to people who eat the flesh-fly larvae. Flesh-flies can also cause myiasis in animals, mostly to sheep, and can give them blood poisoning, or asymptomatic leprosy infections.
Proteomic approach to understanding the maternal effect in the flesh fly, Sarcophaga bullata (Diptera: Sarcophagidae)
Jan 03, 2012; Key words. Diptera, Sarcophagidae, Sarcophaga bullata, maternal effect, short-day history, proteomic, actin-binding, diapause...
The role of 20-hydroxyecdysone in the CNS metamorphosis in flesh fly (Neobellieria bullata) larvae (Diptera: Sarcophagidae)
Jan 01, 2005; Key words. Ecdysteroids, metamorphosis behaviour, pupariation, Diptera, Cyclorrhapha Abstract. The role of 20-hydroxyecdysonc...
Research on Insect Physiology Published by Scientists at Ohio State University, Department of Entomology.(Report)
Jan 18, 2011; A new study, 'Heat shock response to hypoxia and its attenuation during recovery in the flesh fly, Sarcophaga crassipalpis,' is...