common green bottle fly

(Lucilia sericata)

Conservation Status
common green bottle fly
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed


not listed


not listed


Common green bottle fly is a medium-sized blowfly. It occurs throughout the world on every continent except Greenland and Antarctica. It is common in Minnesota. It is found in a wide variety of habitats but prefers warm, moist places. It is common around farms, slaughterhouses, and garbage cans. This is often one of the first insects to visit a corpse, sometimes within minutes of death. Forensic scientists use the development of the larva of this species to determine the age of a corpse. Larvae are used on humans to painlessly remove dead or decaying tissue from wounds while leaving healthy tissue untouched and secreting a chemical that promotes tissue regeneration.

Adults are to ½ long, slightly larger than a house fly.

The thorax is metallic bluish-green, gold, or both. It is covered with numerous short, black, bristle-like hairs (setae), and several parallel rows of long black bristles. Three grooves across the thorax delineate the three thoracic sections. On the middle section (scutum), the two rows of bristles closest to the middle each have 3 bristles.

The abdomen is similar in color to the thorax.

The face is silvery. The eyes are red. The antennae are black. The mouthparts are yellowish.

The legs are black.

The wings are clear and have light brown veins.




Total length: to ½


Similar Species


Warm moist climates; common around farms, slaughterhouses, and garbage cans.




Three or four generations per year. Early spring to late fall.






Life Cycle


The female deposits a mass of up to 180 white or pale yellow eggs in carrion, dung, or garbage. Over the space of 3 weeks the female will lay a total of 2,000 to 3,000 eggs in 9 or 10 batches. The number and size of batches depends on the temperature. When the eggs hatch the maggots begin feeding on the material to which they are attached. They reach full size in 4 to 9 days, enter a pre-pupal stage, then burrow into the soil. In 7 to 115 days, depending on soil temperature, the adults emerge. Over the next 48 hours the body hardens and the wings become functional. Mating begins 3 to 8 days after emergence. Adults can travel many miles searching for carrion or another suitable breeding location.

In Minnesota there are 3 or 4 generations per year. The last generation overwinters in the soil as larva.


Larva Food


Partially decomposed animal tissue in dead fish and other animals, dung, and garbage containing animal matter. Live sheep.


Adult Food


Males usually feed on flower nectar; females also feed on animal tissue


Distribution Map



7, 24, 29, 30, 82.




Common and widespread



Diptera (flies)  




  Zoosection Schizophora  
  Zoosubsection Calyptratae  


Oestroidea (bot flies, blow flies, and allies)  


Calliphoridae (blow flies)  


  Tribe Luciliini  


Lucilia (green bottle flies)  

This species was formerly classified as Phaenicia sericata.




Lucilia barberi

Lucilia giraulti

Lucilia sayi

Musca sericata

Phaenicia sericata


Common Names


common European greenbottle fly

common green bottle fly

sheep blow fly










The forward (anterior) portion of the middle segment of the thorax (mesonotum) in insects and some arachnids.



A usually rigid bristle- or hair-like outgrowth on butterflies and moths used to sense touch. Plural: setae.






Visitor Photos

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Alfredo Colon

    common green bottle fly   common green bottle fly  

Bill Reynolds

    common green bottle fly      
    common green bottle fly   common green bottle fly  






Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Common green bottle fly (Phaenicia sericata, or Lucilia sericata)
The Nature Box

Published on Jul 26, 2014

You can use any of the free content on this channel for your projects. Please follow the license stated below.

Common green bottle fly (Phaenicia sericata), filmed in the U.K. on 25 July 2014.

Author: The Nature Box
License: CC BY-SA 4.0

  microscope video: Common green bottle fly / Goldfliege unter dem USB-Mikroskop

Published on Aug 5, 2013

Close-up of a Common green bottle fly. Impressive is the coloration with a metallic look. ### Nahaufnahme von einer Goldfliege. Beeindruckend ist der grün-gold glänzende Körper.

  Birth of Lucilia sericata (Padua - IT)
Marcello Consolo

Published on Feb 6, 2014

Nascita di una Lucilia sericata




Visitor Sightings

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  Alfredo Colon

Location: Albany, NY

common green bottle fly  
  J Williams

Location: Otter Tail County Minnesota


  Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, MN

common green bottle fly  




Created 9/26/2014

Last Updated:

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