This fly mostly deposits its eggs into carcass, decayed vegetable refuse and feces. These eggs soon hatch into larva that at times eats other maggots from harmful insects.
Following the larva stage is the pupa stage after which they hatch into flies. Their life cycle is about 8 – 21 days depending on the suitability of surrounding conditions. They are among the first insects, to get to a dead animal. For this reason, they are used by forensic specialists, to help in determining the time of death.
They are medium to large in size, measuring about 0.2 – 1.8 cm. They are black in color with longitudinal stripes on the thorax, and the abdomen is checkered. Many of them have red tips on their abdomen and are at times confused with house flies. They have red eyes, which are smooth and rarely have any hair.
These flesh flies are scavengers; they feast on dead flesh of smaller vertebrates. Some also feed on large carcasses and others can sometimes eat other smaller larvae. In addition to this, they eat decaying vegetable matter and feces and can easily be found around manure pits and toilets.
They are a significant health risk as they can spread dangerous illnesses not only to humans but to animals, as well. They carry bacilli that can easily cause leprosy. They can also infest a living human or animal body and feed on its tissue if they eat its larvae. Their larva is used in maggot therapy, in treatment of certain diseases.