DipteraFlies Pollinators and Flies Australian Sheep Blowfly (Lucilia cuprina) Australian Drain Fly Balaana Beefly Bat Flies Bee Flies Bee Fly (Anthrax) Ligyra Australiphthiria Chrysomya saffranea Eristalinus punctulatus Musca Odontomyia (Soldier Flies) Sarcophaga aurifrons Soldier Fly Syrphids

The general public most probably would not associate flies as flower pollinators, yet many species of flies are, being attracted by both nectar and pollen. Unlike native bees, flies are not known to visit specific plant species, instead they are known to visit a variety of flowers.

Fly visitors from at least 71 families of Diptera have been recorded in the literature to flowers in 137 plant families (Larson et al., 2001). The families Syrphidae (hoverflies), Bombyliidae (bee flies), and the Muscidae are especially common as flower visitors.1

Pollinators, Role of, Authors D.W. Inouye, J.E. Ogilvie, in Reference Module in Life Sciences, 2017, Muscidae, ScienceDirect
Fly on Needlewood (Hakea leucoptera), Alice Springs NT
Fly on Needlewood (Hakea leucoptera), Alice Springs NT
Steelblue Bluebottle (Chrysomya saffranea)
Steelblue Bluebottle (Chrysomya saffranea), Alice Springs, NT

Just like native bees, flies that feed on nectar are also known to “bubble” the nectar. This “bubbling” is the term for the process of the expulsion of nectar to evaporate the moisture from the nectar, to condense it.

Fly (possibly Phaonia tuguriorum) bubbling nectar © Shane Lear
Fly (possibly Phaonia tuguriorum) bubbling nectar, Ophir Central Tablelands NSW © Shane Lear
Australian Sheep Blowfly (Lucilia cuprina) also known as Green Blowfly
Australian Sheep Blowfly (Lucilia cuprina) also known as Green Blowfly, blowing a nectar bubble

Footnote & References

  1. Pollinators, Role of, Authors D.W. Inouye, J.E. Ogilvie, in Reference Module in Life Sciences, 2017; Muscidae, ScienceDirect, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/muscidae
  2. Fly, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fly (last visited Feb. 12, 2022)
  3. Diptera, Linnaeus, 1758, Flies, Atlas of Living Australia, https://bie.ala.org.au/species/urn%3Alsid%3Abiodiversity.org.au%3Aafd.taxon%3A6bb27cbe-1bc6-4a7b-b348-e3b5677f239f
  4. Flies, CSIRO, https://www.csiro.au/en/research/animals/insects/flies-research
  5. Phaonia tuguriorum, iNaturalistAU, https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/taxa/445506-Phaonia-tuguriorum
  6. Phaonia tuguriorum, Shane Lear, ausemade, iNaturalistAU, https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/observations/191843209

DipteraFlies Pollinators and Flies Australian Sheep Blowfly (Lucilia cuprina) Australian Drain Fly Balaana Beefly Bat Flies Bee Flies Bee Fly (Anthrax) Ligyra Australiphthiria Chrysomya saffranea Eristalinus punctulatus Musca Odontomyia (Soldier Flies) Sarcophaga aurifrons Soldier Fly Syrphids

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