Brief Summary

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The taxonomic limits of the genus Calliphora are not well defined, with some authors, notably in North America, splitting the group into a number of smaller genera.

The genus Calliphora contains the familiar bluebottle flies, which are easily recognised by their:
  • large size
  • dark blue, almost black colour
  • broad compact body
  • metallic abdomen with silvery dusting
Other notable features are:
  • The first antennal segment (flagellomere) is noticeably large.
  • The back of the head (occiput) has pale hairs. Parts of the head and antennae have a reddish ground colour
  • Legs are bristly.
  • Males have only a very narrow gap between the eyes, females a broad gap.

Diagnostic description
  • Both calypteras brown or at the very least conspicuously pigmented; upper calyptera with dark rim and dark hairs along rim.
  • Basicosta yellow or yellowish-brown, never all black.
  • Anterior thoracic spiracle orange.
  • Frons, upper half of parafacialia, most of face, posterior third of jowls and occiput with dark ground colour.
  • Facial ridges, mouth-edge, and anterior two-thirds of jowls with orange ground colour.
  • Occiput mostly with pale hairs.

Calliphora vicina is the most common and widespread bluebottle blowfly in the UK, spatially and seasonally, and is the species most likely to be encountered.Also common is the rural bluebottle Calliphora vomitoria, which can be easily distinguished from C. vicina by the conspicuous covering of orange hairs on the occiput.One leading authority on this group has reported that vicina is often confused with uralensis in entomological collections. However, C. uralensis has a dark basicosta, and the anterior thoracic spiracle is also dark.


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