Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification

Blow flies of North America: Keys to the subfamilies and genera of Calliphoridae, and to the species of the subfamilies Calliphorinae, Luciliinae and Chrysomyinae

CJAI 39 -- September 2, 2019

N. Jones, T. Whitworth, and S. A. Marshall

| Abstract | Introduction | Methods | Checklist | Identification Keys | Acknowledgments | References | PDF | Cite |



Correct species identification of necrophagous insects is pivotal to their use as evidence in death investigations because many of their attributes are species-specific, including seasonality, distribution, habitat preference and rate of development of larvae in a corpse at particular temperatures. Furthermore, reliable identification of insect species facilitates access to relevant information stored in published literature and allows scientists to communicate and contextualize their findings effectively. Blow flies, because of their abundance, diversity and characteristic roles in the decomposition of carrion, have proven to be of particular importance in forensic entomology.

We here build upon and expand the photographic keys to the northeastern North American Calliphoridae by Marshall et al. (2011), providing keys to the 5 subfamilies and 17 genera of blow flies occurring in North America, and to 41 of the 93 species currently recorded from North America. The species keyed herein include all North American species of possible forensic importance. A map is provided for each of the keyed species. The remaining 51 Nearctic species are mostly parasites or parasitoids, and none are known to develop in carrion. The Nearctic species not included are the 28 species of bird parasites in the genus Protocalliphora Hough, the eight species of Melanodexia Williston, the five species of Angioneura Brauer & Bergenstamm, the four species of Opsodexia Townsend, and the six species of Pollenia Robineau-Desvoidy. Keys to species of Protocalliphora can be found in Sabrosky et al. (1989) and in Whitworth (2002, 2003, and 2006). Keys to Melanodexia are available in Hall (1948), but this infrequently encountered genus needs revision. Keys to the Melanomyinae including Angioneuria and Opsodexia are available in Downs (1986). A separate pictorial key to species of North American Pollenia is available in Jewiss-Gaines, et al. (2012) and the species are also keyed in Whitworth (2006).