Image: An Australian Cheese Fly
An Australian Cheese Fly Piophila australis - Cheese flies - Family Piophilidae
- G. Gowing
- © Australian Museum
Cheese flies - Family Piophilidae
Cheese flies are attracted to the cheesy odour which emanates from a corpse during the later stages of decomposition, particularly when the body is undergoing butyric fermentation. They are also common pests of cheeses and hams.
The Cheese Skipper, Piophila casei, has a worldwide distribution and is named after the behaviour of its maggots. When disturbed the larvae flex and release their bodies, skipping up to 15 cm into the air.
Although arriving after the bulk of the body has been consumed by the pioneer flies, cheese flies can occur in large numbers - 4,363 flies emerged from pupae derived from a single sheep's head.
Cheese Skippers have been found in coffins buried up to 3 m deep and in corpses up to 10 years old.