Sarcophagidae - “Flesh Flies” Recording Scheme

Sarcophaga vagans (m). Image by Nigel Jones 2019

Sarcophaga vagans male on Angelica flowers. A widespread "flesh fly".


A two part draft key to UK species is now available for members to download from the Membership Area

Miltogramma punctata
Miltogramma punctata - a "satellite fly"

The Calypterate family Sarcophagidae contains 64 species in the British Isles. These include the well known "flesh flies" in the genus Sarcophaga, medium to large sizes flies with tessellated patterns on the abdomen. Sarcophaga species are frequently seen basking on sunlit fences, rocks and other structures. They also engage in "summiting" at hilltops and other high points in landscapes.

The family contains three subfamilies:

Miltogramminae: Cleptoparasites of solitary wasps and bees, sometimes known as "Satellite flies" from the habit of some species of closely following host species back to their nests.

Paramacronychiinae: Flies with a diverse biology ranging across necrophagy and predation of snails to parasites or parasitoids of mammals and insects.

Sarcophaginae: The typical "flesh flies" described above. Their biology is very varied and includes parasites and parasitoids of various insects, breeding in animal faeces, carcasses, dead snails, decomposing organic matter. The biology of many species is poorly understood or completely unknown.