Sarcophaga vagans male on Angelica flowers. A widespread "flesh fly".
A two part draft key to UK species is available for members to download from the Membership Area.
Submit your records in Excel format to ukfleshflies[at]gmail.com or directly on iRecord (if possible with diagnostic photos to help verification).
Do contact us by email or using our contact forms for any questions!
The calyptrate family Sarcophagidae contains 64 species in the British Isles. These include the well known "flesh flies" in the genus Sarcophaga, medium to large sized 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: Kleptoparasites 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 predators 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.
Sarcophaga bulgarica - new to Britain
Stephen Plummer and Laurence Clemons have discovered specimens of Sarcophaga bulgarica from Bedfordshire and Kent. The pdf file below provides notes and images to aid separation of S. bulgarica rom the similar S. haemorrhoa. The draft key to UK species will be updated in due course. Meanwhile do check specimens of S. haemorrhoa for the much less common S. bulgarica.