Phorid Fly, Megaselia scalaris
Aliases: “Coffin fly”, “Humpbacked fly”, and “Scuttle fly”
Feloniously flying from fermenting filth, flushes of Phorids frequently foul food, inflict infections, and interfere with fundamental freedoms.
Description: Adult flies are 3-4 mm long with a wingspan of 9-10 mm. The thorax is dark brown-tan with a distinctive humped appearance. Wings have no cross veins.
Life Cycle: Complete metamorphosis (eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults). Each female places about 40 single eggs upon decaying organic matter (over 12 hours). Larvae emerge from the egg in about 24 hours and feed 8 to 16 days depending upon conditions. Larvae display a unique behavior of swallowing air when exposed to pools of liquid (allows floating). Larvae crawl to a drier spot to pupate and then adults emerge. Under ideal conditions, the life cycle is complete in about 14 days; under lessor conditions, it may take up to 40 days.
Habitat: Urban, interior environments such as mausoleums, homes, public restrooms, floor drain systems, dumpsters, trash containers, carrion or rotting meats, vegetable wastes, failing sewer vaults/pipes, and many others.
Food: Larvae feed upon fermenting organic materials, carrion, sewage, and feces. Adults feed upon carbohydrates and exudates.
Range: Established throughout the U.S. (especially within older/ aging/decaying urban infrastructures).
Significance: As an endophilic (“interior-loving”) species, Phorid flies are significantly increasing as pest pressures. With the added pressure of heavy rains, decaying biological waste handling systems and aging municipal sewer and septic systems fail from blockages and collapse. Flies easily locate and exploit such failures. Therefore allowing interior structural explosive invasions or en masse flushes of adult Phorid flies.
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