Bionomics of the face fly, Musca autumnalis

Elliot S. Krafsur, Roger D. Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The face fly was introduced from the Palearctic region and spread across North America in 20 years after World War II. Adults feed on cattle and horses, and larvae develop in fresh cattle dung. Little genetic differentiation appears between European and North American populations and among regions within North America. After an autumnally initiated diapause, overwintered flies emerge in spring and reproduce through late spring and summer Generations after the first overlap, and age structure develops toward a stable age distribution. After three to ten generations, depending on weather, facultative diapause interrupts host feeding and oogenesis, and flies with hypertrophied fat body enter overwintering hibernaculae. Life table statistics and factors affecting population growth and diapause are reviewed. Early views on the fly's effects on animal productivity may have been exaggerated. On-farm control by conventional means has not been effective because of the fly's population dynamics and mobility. We suggest that the alternatives of classical biological control and area-wide control with the sterile insect technique should be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-523
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual Review of Entomology
StatePublished - 1997


  • cattle disease
  • diapause
  • geographic spread
  • population dynamics
  • population genetics
  • sterile insect technique

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review


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