Wingless soldier fly Click to enlarge image
Female wingless soldier fly, Boreoides subulatus. Image: Maggie Crowley
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    subulatus
    Genus
    Boreoides
    Subfamily
    Chiromyzinae
    Family
    Stratiomyidae
    Super Family
    Stratiomyoidea
    Suborder
    Brachycera
    Order
    Diptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Hexapoda
    Phylum
    Arthropoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    Body 2cm

Introduction

The soldier fly is a common and widespread fly of the family Stratiomyidae, whose larvae are commonly found in compost heaps. Larvae of the soldier fly are beneficial in that they prevent houseflies and blowflies from laying eggs in the material inhabited by the soldier fly larvae. They are usually not a pest as they are not attracted to human habitation or foods, they are very easy to catch and relocate when they get inside a house, they are sanitary, and they do not bite or sting.

The female of this species of soldier fly, Boreoides subulatus, is often referred to as a “walk”, due to its lack of wings. The adult males do have wings but they are much smaller than the females.

Identification

  • Soldier flies from this subfamily have robust bodies with short antennae.
  • Grey or brown colour, can have red heads.
  • Females are wingless.
  • The larvae have heads that are the same width as the body. They live in or on the soil, rotting vegetation or animal materials.

Distribution

South-eastern mainland Australia

Habitat

Terrestrial

Larvae live in damp soil or rotting vegetation, especially in or near compost.

Seasonality

Autumn

Feeding and diet

The larvae feed on decomposing vegetation and animal scats.

Breeding behaviours

Female wingless soldier flies are often encountered on walls and fences, .

Life history cycle

  • The larva start their lives in compost and soil, moulting uptp six times before emerging as adults when autumn rains come.
  • The female adults climb tree-trunks, walls and fences, where they are found by the smaller winged males.
  • The female then lays masses of long white eggs on the fence, wall or tree trunk.

Danger to humans

None

References

Atlas of Living Australia