Spring has been slow in arriving in east central Illinois. The Virburnum plants throughout Champaign-Urbana are flowering, attracting a number of pollinating flies and honeybees. One of the most prominent species this weekend is the blue bottle fly (Calliphora vomitoria).
These large, hairy carrion-breeding blowflies are easily identified by their metallic blue abdomens, reddish beards, large red eyes and their gray thoraces with indeterminate striping.
Females lay their eggs on meat, infected wounds or decaying plant matter. These insects play a significant role in crime scene investigations, with different species arriving in different times in the decomposition process, thus allowing for easier identification of time of death.
I look forward to learning more about them during the Forensic Entomology workshop I will be attending this summer.