The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

House Fly

Afrikaans name:

House Fly

Photo © Steven Herbert

Musca domestica

The House Fly is well-known and widespread. It seems that where-ever humans live so do House Flies. They are thought to have evolved up to 66 million years ago and possibly originated in the Middle East. Did you know that they are also found in the Arctic?

These flies have a wingspan of up to 14 mm.

The House Fly breeds in rotting vegetation, rubbish and manure. The female only needs to mate once as she stores sperm for use whenever she is going to lay eggs. Each batch consists of about 100 eggs. The white larvae do not have legs and are referred to as maggots. Within a few days these transform into reddish-brown pupae. The House Fly is only in its adult form for 2 to 4 weeks before dying.

These flies transmit a scary number of diseases including cholera, leprosy and typhoid. The flies are not host to any of these bacteria but rather pick them up as they feed or lay eggs and carry them around on their bodies, legs or hairs.

Laboratories make use of house flies for certain experiments. The flies make good subjects, and it is unlikely that anyone would seriously make claims of animal cruelty against the labs.

References and further reading

Pocket Guide - Insects of South Africa - Author: Mike Picker & Charles Griffiths - Published: 2015 - Page: 102

Insects of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Clarke H. Scholtz and Erik Holm - Published: 1989 - Page: 311

Insects of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Clarke H. Scholtz and Erik Holm - Published: 1989 - Page: 317

Field Guide to Insects of South Africa - Author: Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths and Alan Weaving - Published: 0 - Page: 300

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