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Calliphora stygia

Lateral view

C. stygia habitus

Male frons width (blue arrow) in respect to anterior ocellus (red arrow) in Calliphora albifrontalis (upper) and Calliphora stygia (bottom).

Australian distribution


Family: Calliphoridae

Subfamily: Calliphorinae

Genus: Calliphora Robineau-Desvoidy 1830

Subgenus: Neocalliphora Brauer & Bergenstamm 1891

Species: stygia (Fabricius 1782)


The first-instar larva was described by O'Flynn and Moorhouse (1983), the second-instar by Erzinçlioglu (1984) and O'Flynn and Moorhouse (1983), and the third-instar larva by Erzinçlioglu (1984) and Wallman (2001).


Calliphora stygia is extremely common throughout eastern Australia. It is replaced in Western Australia by its sister species, Calliphora albifrontalis. The species is oviparous but reported as being viviparous during summer in New Zealand (Dear 1985). This has not been observed in Australia. It acts as a primary myiasis agent on sheep in Australia and New Zealand, especially in cooler months when Chrysomya and Lucilia species are in low abundance (Norris 1959). The species is adapted to lower temperatures than other common sheep blowflies (Norris 1959). Levot et al. (1979) and O’Flynn (1983) provided some larval developmental data for C. stygia.

Calliphora stygia is morphologically similar to C. albifrontalis, with the upper third of the fore femora being totally orange, whereas this region is darkened in C. albifrontalis. Male C. stygia can be readily distinguished by the minimum frons width being less than the width of the anterior ocellus, whereas in male C. albifrontalis the minimum frons width is greater than the width of the anterior ocellus (see picture). To determine the gender of your fly click here.


Calliphora stygia is common in south-eastern Australia, known from the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. It is also occurs as an introduction in New Zealand.

Relevant Literature

Dear, J P. (1985) Calliphoridae (Insecta, Diptera). Fauna of New Zealand 8, 86.

Erzinçlioglu, Y.Z. (1984) Studies on the morphology and taxonomy of the immature stages of Calliphoridae, with analysis of phylogenetic relationships within the family, and between it and other groups in the Cyclorrhapha (Diptera). Ph.D., University of Durham.

Levot, G.W., Brown, K.R. and Shipp, E. (1979) Larval growth of some calliphorid and sarcophagid Diptera. Bulletin of Entomological Research 69, 469-475.

Norris, K.R. (1959) The ecology of sheep blowflies in Australia. In: Keast, A., Crocker, R.L. and Christian, C.S. (eds.) Biogeography and Ecology in Australia. DW. Junk, Netherlands.

O'Flynn, M.A. (1983) The succession and rate of development of blowflies in southern Queensland and the application of these data to forensic entomology. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 22, 137-148.

O'Flynn, M.A. and Moorhouse, D.E. (1980) Identification of early immature stages of some common Queensland carrion flies. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 19, 53-61.

Wallman, J.F. (2001) Third-instar larvae of common carrion-breeding blowflies of the genus Calliphora (Diptera: Calliphoridae) in South Australia. Invertebrate Taxonomy 15, 37-51.