The Australian piophilids breed in old carrion. Their larvae will consume the remaining dry protein of carcasses in advanced states of decay. Some species have a preference for feeding inside large bones. The cosmopolitan Cheese Skipper or Bacon Fly (Piophila casei) is further capable of breeding in processed animal products. Historically the Cheese Skipper Fly was a considerable economic pest for the food industry, but this is not the case today with the use of refrigeration and modern preserving techniques. Casu marzu is a traditional Sardinian cheese that is deliberately infested with P. casei maggots in order to change it’s texture. These maggots can ‘skip’ short distances of up to “several inches” when disturbed or distressed. It’s likely this larval jumping habit exits in other piophilid species.
Currently there are 7 described piophilids occuring in Australia – 4 Piophila and 3 Piophilosoma species. Only Piophila casei and Piophilosoma antipodum are known for Tasmania.
McAlpine, J. F. 1977. A revised classification of the Piophilidae, including ‘Neottiophilidae’ and ‘Thyreophoridae’ (Diptera: Schizophora). Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Canada 103: 1-66.
McAlpine, D. K. 1989. A synopsis of the Australian Piophilidae (Diptera: Schizophora). General and Applied Entomology 21: 17-24.