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housefly, common name of the fly Musca domestica, found in most parts of the world. The housefly, a scavenger, does not bite living animals but is dangerous because it carries bacteria and protozoans that cause many serious diseases, e.g., typhoid fever, cholera, and dysentery. The housefly feeds by depositing a drop of digestive liquid on its food, which may be garbage, dead animals, excrement, or other filth. Although most of the liquid drop is sucked back again through the insect's tubelike lower lip, or labium, a residue remains that may contain disease-causing organisms from previous meals. Disease is also transmitted on the fly's sticky foot pads and hairy body. Each female lays from 100 to 200 eggs in the garbage or manure on which the white larvae feed. With favorable temperatures, one generation or more per month may be produced. Metamorphosis is complete, i.e., development is in four stages. The housefly is classified in the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, order Diptera, family Muscidae. For methods of control see bulletins of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Musca domestica), an insect of the family Muscidae. The body length is 6–8 mm. There are two forms, or subspecies. The subspecies Musca domestica domestica is distributed in temperate zones throughout the world. In the USSR it is found primarily in the steppe, forest-steppe, and forest zones. The subspecies Musca domestica vicina is distributed in the southern latitudes of the temperate zone, the subtropics, and the tropics. In the USSR it is found in Transcaucasia, Middle Asia, and Southern Primor’e.

At one laying a female deposits an average of 120 eggs, each measuring 1–1.2 mm long; in its lifetime it lays 900 eggs. The egg develops in eight to 50 hours. The larvae, which measure up to 13 mm long and are white, develop for three to 25 days and then metamorphose into a pupa, forming a puparium. The pupal phase lasts from three days to several months (when there is overwintering). In temperate latitudes the housefly may produce up to nine generations each year; in the subtropics and tropics, up to 15 generations. It winters in the larval or pupal phases; fertilized females winter in the adult phase.

The housefly is widespread in areas of human habitation. It is the carrier of a number of infectious diseases, particularly intestinal infections; it also transmits the ova of worms.

Prophylactic measures include keeping manure and sewage in tightly covered containers, removal of refuse every three or four days, and cleanliness in dwellings and stockyards. Extermination measures include the monthly treatment of toilets, refuse containers, stockyards, and food-preparation machinery with Dipterex preparations; the use of sweet attractants mixed with Dipterex or Formalin, and the hanging of strips of flypaper. To destroy the eggs and larvae of houseflies, breeding places are treated with preparations of malathion, Creolin, or naphtha solvent.


Sukhova, M. N. Sinantropnye mukhi (Mukhi, obitaiushchie v mestakh prozhivaniia cheloveka). Moscow, 1951.
Derbeneva-Ukhova, V. P. Mukhi i ikh epidemiologicheskoe znachenie. Moscow, 1952.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(invertebrate zoology)
Musca domestica. A dipteran insect with lapping mouthparts commonly found near human habitations; a vector in the transmission of many disease pathogens.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a common dipterous fly, Musca domestica, that frequents human habitations, spreads disease, and lays its eggs in carrion, decaying vegetables, etc.: family Muscidae
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Nutritional evaluation of dried larvae and pupae meal of the housefly (Musca domestica) using chemical and broiler based biological assays.
Twenty 2nd newly housefly larvae were putted on the surface of container and follow up daily.
These results suggested that the protein-enriched extracts of housefly larvae functioned to inhibit the HBV replication, viral protein production, and secretion.
Sex-determination in the housefly. Genetica Agaria 1967; 21: 385-11.
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The housefly, Musca domestica L is a well-known cosmopolitan pest.
To get an idea of the immune system component of the interaction between bacteria and houseflies, housefly lysozyme expression was examined by RT-PCR throughout the life-cycle of the organism from undeveloped egg in utero to old-age adult.
However, when a housefly gets into the Al Pacino in favourite gangster mode Carlito's Way ITV4, Tuesday, 11.10pm Al Pacino is in top form as Puerto Rican gangster Carlito Brigante who gets released from prison and decides to go straight.
Transmission of chlamydiae by the housefly. Br J Ophthalmol.
Flies live in close association with humans, the most important include the housefly family, with the genera Musca, Fannia and Muscina; the biting flies, Stomoxvs (Family Muscidae); the blowflies, Chrysomya, Calliphora and Lucilia; and the flesh-flies, Sarcophaga (7).
With reference to the story 'Customer in the soup', it reminded me of the cooked housefly I once found in my dish in one of the famous restaurants in Bahrain.