- Not to be confused with horsefly.
The housefly (also house fly, house-fly or common housefly), Musca domestica, is a fly of the suborder Cyclorrhapha. It is the most common of all domestic flies, accounting for about 91% of all flies in human habitations, and indeed one of the most widely distributed insects, found all over the world. It is considered a pest that can carry serious diseases.
Physical description 
||This section relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (April 2012)|
The adults are 2 cm long. Their thorax is gray, with four longitudinal dark lines on the back. The whole body is covered with hair-like projections. The females are slightly larger than the males, and have a much larger space between their red compound eyes. The mass of pupae can range from about 8 to 20 mg under different conditions.
Like other Diptera (meaning "two-winged"), houseflies have only one pair of wings; the hind pair is reduced to small halteres that aid in flight stability. Characteristically, the media vein (M1+2 or fourth long vein of the wing) shows a sharp upward bend.
Species that appear similar to the housefly include:
- The lesser house fly, Fannia canicularis, is somewhat smaller, more slender, and the media vein is straight.
- The stable fly, Stomoxys calcitrans, has piercing mouthparts and the media vein is only slightly curved.
Life cycle 
Each female fly can lay approximately 500 eggs in several batches of about 75 to 150. The eggs are white and are about 1.2 mm in length. Within a day, larvae (maggots) hatch from the eggs; they live and feed on (usually dead and decaying) organic material, such as garbage or feces. They are pale-whitish, 3–9 mm long, thinner at the mouth end, and have no legs. Their average life cycle is from 14 hours to one week. At the end of their third instar, the maggots crawl to a dry, cool place and transform into pupae, colored reddish or brown and about 8 mm long. The adult flies then emerge from the pupae. (This whole cycle is known as complete metamorphosis.) The adults live from two weeks to a month in the wild, or longer in benign laboratory conditions. Having emerged from the pupae, the flies cease to grow; small flies are not necessarily young flies, but are instead the result of getting insufficient food during the larval stage.
Some 36 hours after having emerged from the pupa, the female is receptive for mating. The male mounts her from behind to inject sperm. Copulation takes a few seconds to a couple of minutes. Normally, the female mates only once, storing the sperm to use it repeatedly for laying several sets of eggs.
The flies depend on warm temperatures; generally, the warmer the temperature, the faster the flies will develop.
Sex determination 
||This section relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (April 2012)|
The housefly is an object of biological research, mainly because of one remarkable quality: the sex determination mechanism. Although a wide variety of sex determination mechanisms exist in nature (e.g. male and female heterogamy, haplodiploidy, environmental factors), the way sex is determined is usually fixed within one species. However, the housefly exhibits many different mechanisms for sex determination, such as male heterogamy (like most insects and mammals), female heterogamy (like birds) and maternal control over offspring sex. This makes the housefly one of the most suitable species to study the evolution of sex determination.
Even though the order of flies (Diptera) is much older, true houseflies are believed to have evolved in the beginning of the Cenozoic era, some 65 million years ago. They are thought to have originated in the southern Palearctic region, particularly the Middle East. Because of their close, commensal relationship with humans, they probably owe their worldwide dispersal to co-migration with humans.
Flies and humans 
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In colder climates, houseflies survive only with humans. They have a tendency to aggregate and are difficult to dispose of. They are capable of carrying over 100 pathogens, such as those causing typhoid, cholera, salmonellosis, bacillary dysentery, tuberculosis, anthrax, ophthalmia, and parasitic worms. Some strains have become immune to most common insecticides.
House flies feed on liquid or semiliquid substances beside solid material which has been softened by saliva or vomit. Because of their large intake of food, they deposit feces constantly, one of the factors that makes the insect a dangerous carrier of pathogens. Although they are domestic flies, usually confined to human habitations, they can fly for several miles from the breeding place. They are active only in daytime, and rest at night, e.g., at the corners of rooms, ceiling hangings, cellars, and barns, where they can survive the coldest winters by hibernation, and when spring arrives, adult flies are seen only a few days after the first thaw.
Housefly as a transmitter of disease 
Mechanical transmission of organisms on its hairs, mouthparts, vomitus and feces:
- parasitic diseases: cysts of protozoa e.g. Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia and eggs of helminths, e.g., Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, Hymenolepis nana, Enterobius vermicularis.
- bacterial diseases: typhoid, cholera, dysentery, pyogenic cocci, etc. House flies have been demonstrated to be vectors of Campylobacter and E. coli O157:H7 using PCR. House flies can be monitored for bacterial pathogens using filter paper spot cards and PCR 
- Viruses: enteroviruses: poliomyelitis, viral hepatitis (A & E)..etc.
Potential in waste management 
The ability of housefly larvae to feed and develop in a wide range of decaying organic matter is important for recycling of nutrients in nature. Research suggests that this adaptation may be exploited to combat with ever-increasing amount of waste. Housefly larvae can be mass-reared in a controlled manner in animal manure, thus reducing the bulk of waste and minimizing environmental risks of its disposal. Harvested maggots may be used as feed for animal nutrition.
- Larraín, Patricia & Salas, Claudio (2008). "House fly (Musca domestica L.) (Diptera: Muscidae) development in different types of manure [Desarrollo de la Mosca Doméstica (Musca domestica L.) (Díptera: Muscidae) en Distintos Tipos de Estiércol]". Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research 68 (2): 192–197. doi:10.4067/S0718-58392008000200009. ISSN 0718-5839.
- Stuart M. Bennett (2003). "Housefly".
- Anthony DeBartolo (June 5, 1986). "Buzz off! The housefly has made a pest of himself for 25 million years". Chicago Tribune.
- Dübendorfer A, Hediger M, Burghardt G, Bopp D. (2002). "Musca domestica, a window on the evolution of sex-determining mechanisms in insects". International Journal of Developmental Biology 46 (1): 75–79. PMID 11902690.
- Brian M. Wiegmann, David K. Yeates, Jeffrey L. Thorne, Hirohisa Kishino, a fly's head, showing compound eyes and hair[dead link]
- Ostrolenk M. & Welch H. (1942). "The house fly as a vector of food poisoning organisms in food producing establishments". American Journal of Public Health 32 (5): 487–494.
- Levine, O.S. & Levine M.M. (1991). "House flies (Musca domestica) as mechanical vectors of shigellosis". Reviews of Infectious Diseases 13 (4): 688–696. PMID 1925289.
- Förster M., Klimpel S. & Sievert K. (2009). "The house fly (Musca domestica) as a potential vector of metazoan parazites caught in a pig-pen in Germany". Veterinary Parasitology 160 (1-2): 163–167. doi:10.1016/j.vetpar.2008.10.087.
- Georghiou G.P. & Hawley M.K. (1971). "Insecticide resistance resulting from sequential selection of houseflies in the field by organophosphorus compounds". Bulletin of the World Health Organization 45 (1): 43–51.
- Keiding J. (1975). "Problems of housefly (Musca domestica) control due to multiresistance to insecticides". Journal of Hygiene, Epidemiology, Microbiology and Immunology 19 (3): 340–355. PMID 52667.
- Nazni W.A., Luke H., Wan Rozita W.M., Abdullah A.G., Sadiyah I., Azahari A.H., Zamree I., Tan S.B., Lee H.L. & Sofian A.M. (2005). "Determination of the flight range and despersal of the house fly, Musca domestica (L.) using mark release recapture technique". Tropical Biomedicine 22 (1): 53–61. PMID 16880754.
- A. L. Szalanski, C. B. Owens, T. Mckay & C. D. Steelman (2004). "Detection of Campylobacter and Escherichia coli O157:H7 from filth flies by polymerase chain reaction". Medical and Entomology 18 (3): 241–246. doi:10.1111/j.0269-283X.2004.00502.x. PMID 15347391.
- Sheri M. Brazil, C. Dayton Steelman & Allen L. Szalanski (2007). "Detection of pathogen DNA from filth flies (Diptera: Muscidae) using filter paper spot cards". Journal of Agricultural and Urban Entomology 24 (1): 13–18. doi:10.3954/1523-5475-24.1.13.
- Miller B. F., Teotia J. S. & Thatcher T. O. (1974). "Digestion of poultry manure by Musca domestica". British Poultry Science 15 (2): 231. doi:10.1080/00071667408416100. PMID 4447887.
- Cickova H., Pastor B., Kozanek M., Martinez-Sanchez A., Rojo S. & Takac P. (2012). "Biodegradation of pig manure by the housefly, Musca domestica: A viable ecological strategy for pig manure management". PLOS ONE 7 (3): e32798. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032798. PMID 22431982.
- Zhu FX., Wang WP., Hong CL., Feng MG., Xue ZY., Chen XY., Yao YL. & Yu M. (2012). "Rapid production of maggots as feed supplement and organic fertilizer by the two-stage composting of pig manure". Bioresource Technology 116: 485–491. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2012.04.008. PMID 22541952.
- Hwangbo J., Hong E. C., Jang A., Kang H. K., Oh J. S., Kim B. W. & Park B. S. (2009). "Utilization of house fly-maggots, a feed supplement in the production of broiler chickens". Journal of Environmental Biology 30 (4): 609–614. PMID 20120505.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Musca domestica|
|Wikispecies has information related to: Musca domestica|
- house fly on the UF / IFAS Featured Creatures Web site
- Pictorial presentation of life-cycle
- The House Fly and How to Suppress It, by L. O. Howard and F. C. Bishopp. U. S. Department of Agriculture Bulletin No. 1408, 1928, from Project Gutenberg. Also see:
- Stockbridge, Frank Parker (April 1912). "How To Get Rid Of Flies: The Way They "Swat" Them In Topeka And Order Out The Boy Scouts To Slaughter Them". The World's Work: A History of Our Time. XXIII: 692–701. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
- Page (editor), Walter Hines (June 1912). "How To Make A Flyless Town". The World's Work: A History of Our Time XXIV: 176–179. Retrieved 2009-07-10.