University Of Tasmania

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Blowfly succession from possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) carrion in a sheep farming zone

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 18:09 authored by Lang, MD, Geoff AllenGeoff Allen, Brian HortonBrian Horton
The significance of brushtail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula Kerr (Diprotodontia: Phalangeridae) carcasses to the succession and production of Diptera species and its relevance to fly strike management in Tasmania, Australia was examined. Calliphora stygia (Fabricius), Lucilia sericata (Meigen) and Calliphora vicina Robineau-Desvoidy (Diptera: Calliphoridae) were found to be the most abundant and Lucilia cuprina (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) always the least abundant (< 1%) of the putative primary fly invading species to emerge. Carcasses that were left for up to 15 days in the field before being exposed to flies for 2 days also acted as breeding sites for large numbers of all primary fly species, with the exception of L. cuprina. Ordination analysis revealed no relationship between possum carcasses according to their length of exposure but did show significant negative associations between the number of putative secondary invaders (Chrysomya rufifacies (Macquart) (Diptera: Calliphoridae), Chrysomya varipes (Macquart) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) and putative tertiary flies (Hydrotaea rostrata Robineau-Desvoidy (Diptera: Muscidae)) to the number of C. vicina or C. stygia to emerge. There was enormous variability in the numbers of secondary/tertiary fly species to emerge from carcasses (0-11 450) that negatively correlated with the proportion of all flies to emerge that were primary, and with the mean size of adult L. sericata. Although carcass temperatures, especially those with a large larval population, were elevated, this did not appear to result in significant pre-adult fly mortality. The most important primary fly strike species L. cuprina was only found in insignificant numbers, whereas three other members of the fly strike fauna C. stygia, L. sericata and Ch. rufifacies did use possum carrion as an important breeding resource, but left implications for fly strike management inconclusive. © 2006 The Royal Entomological Society.


Publication title

Medical & Veterinary Entomology










Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Sheep for wool

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