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Dung Fly Scathophaga stercoraria

Another family of filthy flies: the Dung Flies. Some species deposit their eggs in cow dung. The eggs have little 'wings' on both sides to prevent them for sinking into the fresh cow-manure. Luckily it does not enter your house by habit and is mainly seen on flowers in the garden sucking nectar or hunting for other insects. There are various species of Dung Flies; the Yellow Dung Fly is known best. To tell the common Dung Fly apart from its relatives, examen the antennae. The common Dung Fly is the only one possessing completely black antennae. By the way: many species don't lay their eggs in dung. The larvae of the smaller species live inside leaves of plants, while the larvae of others live on other larvae and insects.

We all know that all this running around on dung can't be healthy. Well, most flies don't seem to bother about it, but even flies can get a disease. Especially the Yellow Dung Fly is vulnerable. The animals sometimes suffer from a disease caused by a fungus called Entomophaga. The fungus grows between the segments of the body. If the animal is almost entirely digested by the fungus it somehow sees to it that the fly climbs on top of some plant. There the fly dies and the circumstances are ideal for the fungus to release its spores. An example of an invested Dung Fly is in the bottom pictures, except for the last. Parasites do regularly cause a change in an animal's usual behavior. Stylopized bees often behave in a strange way. Plant lice infected by parasitic wasps often climb on top of a leaf in stead of hiding beneath it.

The Dung Fly measures about 5 to 10 millimeters. The males look golden or yellow. Their body is covered in hairs of that colour. Only the upper side of the thorax is not covered in those yellow hairs and is grey. The male is in the two top pictures. The female lacks all those golden hairs and is rather plain looking. She normally is greyish green, or greenish grey if you want... She is in the middle pictures. In the bottom picture another hairy male. The larvae live in dung, but they don't eat the dung, but hunt for other insect larvae living in the dung.

This species is also known as the Yellow Dung Fly