The calliphorids are common, conspicuous, and widespread flies. They are generally fairly stout, largish, and usually at least partially metallic, especially the abdomen. The family is of economic importance having species that are the primary cause of sheep fly-strike such as Calliphora stygia, Lucilia cuprina, and L. sericata. Since some calliphorids are ‘filth’ visitors and carrion colonisers, they also have the potential to impact human health by the spreading of pathogens. Not all calliphorids follow such habits though. Both Onesia and Pollenia includes species known to parasitise earthworms. The biology of many blowflies are not known at all – in regards to Tasmania, this includes Aphyssura and Calliphora (Australocalliphora) species.
Tasmania has around twenty known species of calliphorids. The dominant and most obvious calliphorid group in Tasmania, as is the general case for southern and south-eastern Australia, are the Golden Blowflies. These are Calliphora species adorned with golden abdomen and yellowish legs, a look peculiar to these Australian endemic species. Calliphora stygia is generally the most encountered. This is the large blowfly that commonly enters households in summer. The female is capable of ovipositing on exposed meat and has even been known to do so on blankets – perhaps when a suitable site is not found? The introduced European Bluebottle (Calliphora vicina) is usually active around urban gardens, even during the winter.
Aphyssura is a southern distributed Australian genus. The species are small (~5mm), similar in stature to Onesia, with body often typically coppery to dark greenish with whitish dusting, the mesonotum often thinly quadrivittate. They are easily distinguished from similar looking calliphorids by their wing venation, having wing cell r4+5 closed.
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Kurahashi, H. 1971. The tribe Calliphorini from Australian and Oriental regions, II. Calliphora-group (Diptera: Calliphoridae). Pacific Insects 13: 141-204.
Kurahashi, H. 2007. Family Caliphoridae. In: Evenhuis, NL (ed.), Catalog of the Diptera of the Australasian and Oceanian Regions. (online version). Available at: http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/aocat/calliphoridae.html. Last accessed: 16 January 2012.
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Wallman, J. F. 2001. A key to the adults of species of blowflies in southern Australia known or suspected to breed in carrion. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 15: 433-37.