Monday, March 26, 2012

The First Priority for a Dung Fly in Spring...

Once spring arrives in a seasonal climate the priorities for animals are  straightforward: feeding and breeding. These two dung flies (Scatophaga stercoraria), which were amongst hundreds on willow catkins in Teesdale this morning, are managing to combine both activities. Next stop dung, to lay some eggs. Scatophaga literally means 'dung eater' and is slightly misleading, since only the larvae feed on dung. The adults are voracious predators of other flies, catching them using their  hairy front pair of legs, which grasp their prey like the legs of a preying mantid; males capture females for mating in much the same way


  1. I've been watching mating house flies and the way they can still fly whilst coupled together.

  2. Great photograph! My mating ladybirds are prettier though!

    We wonder if there are increased numbers of ladybirds nationally - we have noticeably more than usual here.

    My partner is going to base a fly tying pattern on dung flies - thanks for the detail.

  3. Hi John, damselflies seem to be masters of in-flight copulation too...

  4. Hi snippa, can't imagine dung flies being used on product logos, in the same way that ladybirds used to be...! There seem to be vast numbers of seven-spot ladybirds everywhere this year.... saw loads in Lincolnshire today...