Calliphora vicina

Geographic Range

Calliphora vicina, commonly known as blue blowflies, are native to the Holarctic. They are invasive across the globe. (Battán-Horenstein, et al., 2016; Pérez, et al., 2016)


Blue blowflies are most commonly found near the carrion and garbage that they eat. They prefer shady and cold habitats over those that are warm or bright. They are most common during winter. These flies can be found in grasslands, forests, and mountains. (Marshall, et al., 2011)

Physical Description

Blue blowflies are blueish in color. Their wings are greyish to transparent. They have yellow-orange jowls covered in black hair. Their eyes are brownish in color. This species is sexually dimorphic. (Marshall, et al., 2011)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes shaped differently


Larvae of blue blowflies develop in carrion. They go through a few different instars of development and then undergo metamorphosis in order to become adults. (Reznik, et al., 1992)


Blue blowflies utilize sexual reproduction through internal fertilization. They breed seasonally and lay eggs inside of carrion. (Battán-Horenstein, et al., 2016)

Blue blowflies do not take care of their young. Females lay eggs and then leave. (Pérez, et al., 2016)

  • Parental Investment
  • no parental involvement


Blue blowflies only live for a few months. Females tend to live for longer than the males of this species. (Pérez, et al., 2016)


Blue blowflies prefer to feed on carcasses and garbage found in the cold and the shade. They are active during the day. Larvae move by crawling, while adults are able to fly. (Battán-Horenstein, et al., 2016)

Communication and Perception

Blue blowflies communicate through chemical methods. They perceive their environment through visual, chemical, and tactile methods. (Battán-Horenstein, et al., 2016; Rader, et al., 2016)

Food Habits

Blue blowflies mainly consume carrion, detritus, and garbage. They prefer to consume carrion and plants in cold and shaded locations. (Battán-Horenstein, et al., 2016)


The species of bee known as Alysia manducator are parasitoids of certain instars of the larvae of blue blowflies. They prefer larvae that are about four days old. (Reznik, et al., 1992)

Ecosystem Roles

Blue blowflies pollinate many plants and crops like carrots. They play a role in biodegradation. (Battán-Horenstein, et al., 2016)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Blue blowflies are important pollinators for some types of crops like carrots. They are incredibly important in forensic science. They reliably arrive on and inhabit the carrion within a certain window of time. Forensic scientists are able to use the growth of larvae and the known temperature to determine the time of death. (Donovan, et al., 2006; Rader, et al., 2016)

  • Positive Impacts
  • research and education
  • pollinates crops

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Blue blowflies do not have any known negative economic impacts. (Whitworth, 2006)

Conservation Status

Blue blowflies are not currently undergoing conservation efforts.

Other Comments

This species was previously known as Calliphora erythrocephala. (Battán-Horenstein, et al., 2016)


Deena Hauze (author), Animal Diversity Web Staff.



living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map


living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.

World Map


living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


helps break down and decompose dead plants and/or animals


flesh of dead animals.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


having a worldwide distribution. Found on all continents (except maybe Antarctica) and in all biogeographic provinces; or in all the major oceans (Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific.


particles of organic material from dead and decomposing organisms. Detritus is the result of the activity of decomposers (organisms that decompose organic material).


a period of time when growth or development is suspended in insects and other invertebrates, it can usually only be ended the appropriate environmental stimulus.

  1. active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.

animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature


union of egg and spermatozoan


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


a distribution that more or less circles the Arctic, so occurring in both the Nearctic and Palearctic biogeographic regions.

World Map

Found in northern North America and northern Europe or Asia.

internal fertilization

fertilization takes place within the female's body


referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.


A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


living in residential areas on the outskirts of large cities or towns.


uses touch to communicate

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


living in cities and large towns, landscapes dominated by human structures and activity.


uses sight to communicate



Donovan, S., M. Hall, B. Turner, C. Moncrieff. 2006. Larval Growth Rates of the Blowfly, Calliphora vicina, over a Range of Temperatures. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 20(1): 106-114.

Marshall, S., T. Witworth, L. Roscoe. 2011. Blow Flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) of Eastern Canada with a Key to Calliphoridae Subfamilies and Genera of Eastern North America, and a Key to the Eastern Canadian Species of Calliphorinae, Luciliinae and Chrysomyiinae.. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification, 11: 65-67.

Pérez, C., N. Segura, M. Patarroyo, F. Bello. 2016. Evaluating the Biological Cycle and Reproductive and Population Parameters of Calliphora vicina (Diptera: Calliphoridae) Reared on Three Different Diets. Journal of Medical Entomology, 53(6): 1268-1275.

Rader, R., I. Bartomeus, L. Garibaldi, M. Garratt, B. Howlett, R. Winfree, S. Cunningham, M. Mayfield, A. Arthur, G. Andrersson, R. Bommarco, C. Brittain, B. Freitas, B. Gemmill-Herren. 2016. Non-bee iInsects Are Important Contributors to Global Crop Pollination. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(1): 146-151. Accessed November 17, 2020 at

Reznik, S., D. Chernoguz, K. Zinovjeva. 1992. Host Searching, Oviposition Preferences and Optimal Synchronization in Alysia manducator (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a Parasitoid of the Blowfly, Calliphora vicina. Oikos, 65(1): 81-88. Accessed November 17, 2020 at

Whitworth, T. 2006. Keys to the Genera and Species of Blow Flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) of America North of Mexico. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 108(3): 689-725.