T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Fly (Soldier Black) Hermetia illucens

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Family: Stratiomyidae
Genus: Hermetia
Species: H. illucens
Binomial name: Hermetia illucens
Synonyms:: Musca illucens, Musca leucopa, Hermetia rufiventris, Hermetia pellucens, Hermetia nigrifacies, Hermetia mucens, Hermetia illucens var. nigritibia, Hermetia illuscens,
Common names:  Black Soldier Fly

Hermetia illucens is a common and a world widespread fly of the family Stratiomyidae, and quite possibly the best-known species in the entire infraorder.
This species arrived in New Zealand about 1956 and is common in the North Island during summer and is usually seen on windows.

Hermetia illucens is a black, sleek, two-winged fly that looks like a wasp. It has two wings while a wasp has four.
It does not possess a stinger and poses no danger to people. It has two translucent "windows" located on the first abdominal segment. These pale coloured windows can be hidden by the dark coloured wings.
Adults range from 15 to 20 mm in length. The adult's antennae are elongated with three segments. The last segments of the legs are white. The soldier fly has no functioning mouthparts hence they do not need to feed and rely on the fats stored from the larval stage. They spend their entire adult life in search of mates and reproducing. They live for 5 to 8 days.
The female fly lays her 500 odd eggs in, moist decaying organic matter such as animal waste or plant material; hence these flies frequent agricultural areas because of the large amounts of organic waste left by livestock that meet their reproductive needs. In urbanised areas, they will lay eggs in compost bins and worm farms.
The larvae are 27 mm in length and 6 mm in width and are detritus eaters (decomposing matter).

It is interesting that around the world the larvae are sold as live pet food for owners of reptiles, amphibians and tropical fish, or as composting grubs. They store high levels of calcium for future pupation which is beneficial to herptiles.

A female fly


A male fly 

Photo of male fly they have a reddish tip on their abdomen.

A lateral view of an adult female Hermetia illucens. Notice the translucent "window" located on the first abdominal segment. The oviduct is extended.

Notice the patterns in the eye

The underside of a female fly. Note the halteres behind the forelegs which operate as vibrating structure gyroscopes 

The soldier fly has no functioning mouthparts and instead spends its adult life in search of mates and reproducing.

Photo showing the venation of a Hermetia illucens wing.

The larvae

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and Information: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/