Flesh flies are often mistaken for houseflies due to their coloration and markings. However, their gray-checkered abdomens are distinctively larger than those of the housefly. Typically, flesh flies exhibit three dark stripes along the prothorax and four distinct bristles atop the thorax. An extra row of bristles is found beneath the flesh flies’ wings and yet another can be found at each side of the thorax. Flesh flies measure approximately 10 to 13 mm from end to end. Larvae are yellow in color, with pointed heads. Along with bottle and blowflies, flesh flies prove useful to forensic entomologists. These fly larvae may assist in pinpointing time of death.
Flesh flies reproduce on decaying vegetable items, animal flesh, carcasses, garbage and excrement. Although flesh flies do not bite and are not carriers of disease, their feeding habits can become a nuisance. However, larvae can also prove beneficial to humans, as they are parasitic on the eggs and immatures of other pests such as grasshoppers, blowflies, houseflies, spiders and snails.