The house fly is, perhaps, the most common and widespread animal in the world (3). It is a serious pest, which spreads many disease-causing pathogens including Salmonella, anthrax and polio (4). It is greyish in colour with four dark stripes along the back (4). Like all flies it has one pair of membranous 'true' wings; the second pair of wings are modified into drumstick-like appendages known as 'halteres', which are used in balance. The sponge-like mouthparts are adapted for feeding on liquids, and the reddish compound eyes are large (5).
House flies contaminate food, and in developing countries are responsible for millions of infant deaths per year as a result of dehydration caused by diarrhoea (5).
House flies undergo 'complete metamorphosis'; the larvae (maggots) progress through three stages known as 'instars' before a pupal stage develops in which complex changes take place as the body of the maggot re-organises into the adult fly (4). Adults feed on rotting plant and animal matter and sugary liquids. They repeatedly salivate on food, ingest it and regurgitate it in order to pre-digest the food (4).
Type of insect development (also known as holometabolous development) in which there is a distinct larval and pupal stage. The larval stage is different to the adult in terms of both structure and diet, and the pupa is a relatively inactive stage in which the larval tissues are broken down and rearranged into adult structures.
Stage in an animal's lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.
Stage in an insect's development, when huge changes occur that reorganise the larval form into the adult form. In butterflies the pupa is also called a chrysalis.
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