- Size: About 5 to 10 mm long
- Color: Gray or brown
- Distinctive Feature: Develops in manure or decaying matter
- Habitat: Farms, stables, compost heaps
Appearance of the Manure Fly
The manure fly, scientifically known as Scathophaga stercoraria, is distinguished by its robust and hairy body, which sports a golden or yellow-brown color. Its eyes are generally reddish and display a notable metallic sheen. Its antennae are short, and its wings, though transparent, can sometimes reflect golden hues in the light. As an adult, the fly measures about 5 to 10 millimeters long, with legs slightly darker than the body. Sexual dimorphism is not pronounced, though females may be slightly larger than males.
Habitat of the Manure Fly
This insect is commonly found in environments rich in decaying organic matter, especially on farms, in stables, or near compost heaps. The manure fly prefers damp and moderately warm areas conducive to the decomposition of organic matter, the primary food source for its larvae. It is also attracted to animal feces, where it lays its eggs. While more active during the warm months, this fly can survive in less favorable conditions, seeking moist micro-habitats to overwinter.
Behavior of the Manure Fly
The behavior of the manure fly is closely linked to its life cycle and environment. Adults primarily feed on nectar, pollen, and sometimes decaying matter. During the breeding period, females lay eggs on decaying organic matter, particularly animal feces. The hatched larvae feed on this decaying matter, playing a crucial role in the natural decomposition process. Manure flies are also known for their fast flight and ability to land precisely on surfaces, even in motion. Additionally, they serve as ecological indicators, their presence often signaling an ecosystem rich in organic matter.
Distinguishing the Manure Fly from Other Insects
The manure fly differs from the house fly in several aspects. The house fly is generally smaller, measuring about 5 to 8 mm, and has a gray body with darker longitudinal stripes on the thorax. Its eyes are less prominent and duller in color compared to the reddish, shiny eyes of the manure fly. The house fly is also more common in human dwellings and on food, while the manure fly prefers environments rich in decaying organic matter.
The deer fly, or deer fly, is notably different from the manure fly. It is characterized by its large spotted eyes and black body with white or yellow markings. Unlike the manure fly, the deer fly is a nuisance to animals and humans as it feeds on blood. Its size is similar to that of the manure fly, but its feeding behavior and distinct markings facilitate its identification.