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Five-Legged Flesh Fly

Five-Legged Flesh Fly
Photo Information
Copyright: Loot Eksteen (loot) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-03-19
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 HZ DG Macro, Digital ISO 100, UV 62mm Kenko
Exposure: f/14.0, 1/80 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Flies - Moscas - Mouches, Insects and Spiders of Southern Africa, A study in Entomology (insects) 1, Macromania [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-06-15 15:25
Viewed: 9071
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 64
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Flesh fly - Sarcophagidae spp

This five-legged flesh fly was photographed at the Thulasihleka Pan Bird Sanctuary at Richards Bay. As unpleasant as it may sound, I found it feeding on some 'misplaced' faeces in the grassy area leading to the gangway of the bird hide which can be seen here. This genus consists of 157 species found throughout South Africa.


Flies in the Diptera family Sarcophagidae (from the Greek sarco- = corpse, phage = eating), are commonly known as flesh flies. They are sometimes mistaken for house flies, due to their markings and coloration, but they are larger than house flies, are grey in colour and have a checkerboard pattern on the top of their abdomen. Its prothorax has three dark stripes; the house fly has four stripes. The primary breeding site for this flying pests is in or on dead animal carcasses (carrion) or decaying material, but a few species lay their eggs in the open wounds of mammals; hence their common name. Some flesh fly larvae are internal parasites of other insects. These larvae, commonly known as maggots, live for about 5-10 days, before descending into the soil and maturing into adulthood.

A few species of large flesh flies can lay so many eggs on an animal carcass that it is transformed into a squirming mass of maggots when the eggs hatch. This dreadful sight is really indicative of a beneficial insect - the larvae help clean our world of dead animals.

Flesh-fly maggots occasionally eat other smaller larvae if they get in the way. They also eat the larvae of grasshoppers, beetles, snails, and caterpillars, especially the forest tent caterpillar. This habit can be useful for biological control. Flesh-flies and their larvae are also known to eat decaying vegetable matter and excrement (dung) and they may be found around compost piles and pit latrines.

The life cycle of flesh-fly larvae has been well researched and is very predictable. They like to give birth to live young on corpses of human and other animals. Different species prefer bodies in different states of decomposition, and the specific preferences and predictable life cycle timings allows forensic entomologists to understand the progress of decomposition and enables the calculation of the time of death by back extrapolation. This is done by determining the oldest larva of each species present, measuring the ambient temperature and from these values, calculating the earliest possible date and time for deposition of larvae. This yields an approximate time and date of death (d.o.d.). The evidence can be used in forensic investigations and may assist in the identification of a corpse by matching the calculated time of death with reports of missing persons. Such evidence has also been used to identify murderers. Source.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0.

Fisher, dew77, thor68, Signal-Womb, gerhardt, jchemas, TAZ, aido, soccer, scottevers7, pilonm, SkyF, liquidsunshine, Janice, Dando, annagrace, firelord, ramthakur, jeanpaul, eruyanik, Dyker, Miss_Piggy, Rehanna, betsie has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To ramthakur: Cute fly?loot 1 06-17 06:22
To annagrace: Discussing the crawling maggotsloot 1 06-17 04:01
To gerhardt: Thulasihlekaloot 2 06-15 17:19
To thor68: How to make a fly a walkloot 1 06-15 16:56
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Fisher Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1540 W: 309 N: 2234] (8915)
  • [2006-06-15 15:37]

Hi Loot,

Well done on this capture and composition. Excellent work.


Hi Loot,
beautiful, I like the glittering wings and these intensive red eyes. Very well done, thanks
Sabine - wishnuaruda

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2006-06-15 16:00]

Hello Loot,
Very nice close up.I liked details,colors,lighting,framing and composition a lot.
Excellent work!

Super Fly Loot! The details and colors are very nice and I really like the overhead POV showing us the entire outline of your subject. :)

Very good and interesting capture Loot. Love the overhead POV and effective DOF giving good focus from fly to leaf. Composition is well balance with the fly off centre. Well done.

Hi Loot, burning the midnight oil?? :) Same here...

You did well in exposure, sharpness, DOF, POV and subject placement. These critters are very difficult to get without the glare on the wings. Seeing that you where on the tripod you might try and use an object to throw a shadow but guess what the fly will do once the shadow passes over him... he'd stay true to his name and fly... :) Good shot none the less.

Ps. Mkhuze 12/9 - 23/9, Ithala 23/9 - 30/9 will tell you later when I'll be in R/Bay. I would love to see Thulasihleka.

  • Great 
  • chiliu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1457 W: 0 N: 1176] (6526)
  • [2006-06-15 19:05]

Hi Loot,
Very nice macro! Excellent POV, and the details are very clear, the contrasting colours also are great.
Thanks for sharing!

Are you catching flies now Loot????
This is a good macro catch my friend, great colors, sharpness and details.
I have tried to photograph one of those but no luck yet. I will continue trying until I get one.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2006-06-15 22:03]

Hi Loot

Beautiful capture of this fly.Very fine colours and detail.


  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2006-06-16 1:20]

A common fly in a ggod shot becomes not common, especialy with 5 legs ;-) Composition, colors, exposure, DOF and sharpness are very good. I also appreciate the instructive note... Congratulations Loot and thanks for sharing.

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2006-06-16 4:20]

Hi Loot,
An exceptional neat close-up. Light and reflecion are very good and composition is spot on.
TFS, José M.

  • Great 
  • aido Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 1044 W: 156 N: 1218] (4046)
  • [2006-06-16 5:28]

Hi Loot,
Excellent macro shot! The top-down POV is perfect and not a common POV on TN I think. Excellent detail and exposure, great colours and textures. I like seeing common insects this close, because I always notice something different about them, for instance this one looks as if it has hooves :-)
Great shot and note, excellent post.


Great note. The Composition, POV, Lighting, Sharpness and detail are all great once again.


Hi Loot,
A superb macro shot on this Five-Legged Flesh Fly. The colors and detail in this shot are amazing. Those enormous red eyes look great!
An excellent informative note too. Hope you have kicked the flu :)

Hello Loot, great Job on capturing this fly, Perfect details, BG, POV, DOF, Perefct colors, TFs Kyle

Hi Loot,

Dit is 'n goeie foto, die fokus en DVV is perfek. Interessant dat die vlieg net vyf bene het. Lyk my hy is besig om in 'n loop te verander. :-)


  • Great 
  • ddg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 867 W: 24 N: 1008] (5507)
  • [2006-06-16 8:27]

Hello Loot, great capture with this macro-shot of fly. Splendid colors and goood sharpness too. Didier.

Very interesting catch, Loot! The marron eyes look so strange attached to the head! I like also the different coloration of the wings! In order to achieve that, you managed very well the exposition! Nice details, pov and composition! Well done and TFS, my friend!


have you been playing with flies and pulling their legs out
while you were down with the flu, loot? *g*
nice to see you back, hope you are ok again!
superb macro-shot with fantastic details and colors.
the red eyes are great and so are the black and white stripes
on the back.
wonderful view from above, well composed with the fresh
green leaf as bg.
well done & take care, thor.

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2006-06-16 11:15]

Hi Loot,
very detailed and sharp macro. POV, colors and crop are very nice.

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-06-16 11:22]

Hmmm... Thanks for the... scatological details, Loot. : P
Just goes to show that nature does not discriminate.
Even lowly feces-eatiing creatures are accorded beauty,
and you managed to capture it with your amazing photographic skills.
I don't think I have ever seen the back of a fly from that POV.
Amazing what patterns you can find there.
The exposure is perfect, bringing out the iridescence on the wings without any glare.
The details are outstanding: the hairs on the rear end, those little splayed feet, and those gorgeous red eyes.
Those huge red eyes really steal the show.
A brilliant capture, my friend. Congratulations and TFS. : )

Hi Loot,

Good detail, colours and sharpness. exposure and lighting are good. Good POV and composition.

Thanks for posting, have a great weekend.

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2006-06-16 17:43]

Flesh fly - sounds nice! And look at his padded feet!! Is that to stick to the flesh as he puts his head in to suck!! Actually, I love his eyes and even the pretty silver and black stripes on his body.
Well positioned on the leaf Loot - he is very nice and sharp. Good job done here!

  • Great 
  • Dando Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 637 W: 32 N: 792] (3084)
  • [2006-06-16 18:09]

Hi Loot, nice macro shot of this flesh fly. I must admit not the nicest of subjects to photograph but all part of natures cycle. I had no idea that these had such unusual markings. Anyway good sharp details with excellent colours and also a good POV looking down onto the fly. Well done my friend and TFS.

Do we really need to discuss maggots, Loot? LOL!

Amazing detail of a face only a mother could love. Great POV.



Hi Loot!
I would certainly say that your flesh fly is "cute" and "beautiful"!
The image IS a masterpiece in every respect. What grabs me in particular are the red eyes and the tail-end with dark spiky things sticking out of it and making a nice pattern.
Thanks for sharing this delightful image.
Warm regards.

Salut Loot
Magnifique photo que cette jolie mouche.J'aime beaucoup tous les détails et les belles couleurs .
Belle présentation .Est-ce une série de darts qu'elle a prèes son abdomen,ca doit piquer très fort.
Merci et au revoir....JP

  • Great 
  • Adam73 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 208 W: 5 N: 522] (2253)
  • [2006-06-23 18:09]

Very nice perspective of this fly. I love the big cherry tomato red eyes. The fill flash may be a little hot in some places but the detail and the black background is awesome. Nice shot Loot.

Hello Loot!
Wow! Superb pov here with about exact vertical looking! Great colours and details! You know what! i've thought that flesh flies are bad subjects for photography! But looking to your shot, i throw that thought in to the garbage can just now! Hey look at that spiny back! The legs and nails:-) looks superb too! Superb composition! There is only a defective part on this shot! Absolutely it is the sixth leg ;-)
Thank you and best regards!

  • Great 
  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2007-02-20 2:27]

Hello Loot
Good golly, but you made this pest look like something truly beautiful. It is just amazing what colours you managed to show in the wings. Those eyes looks like brakelights. The macro work is amazing with so much detail visible on the fly. I realy like this one.

Great details of the fly, its red eyes are magnificent, well contrasted with the green leaf. Congratulations and regards from Brazil!

Dear Loot
Another great shot from you. Details and colours are absolutely perfect and true to nature. The image as a whole is stunning. I like the clarity of the shape of the paws very much as well as the shine all over the fly not only on the wings but on the body as well. I hope you continue to find joy in nature and photography, just as I do. Thanks for sharing at the time. Love you lots.

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