Blowfly head, SEM

Blowfly head, SEM

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This image is part of the feature Insect Detectives

Credit: VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Head of a blowfly. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a Lucilia sp. blowfly head. A female blowfly lays her eggs on dead bodies. This behaviour is studied by forensic entomologists. A blowfly's compound eyes (blue) are good at seeing the red colour of blood. Antennae (between eyes) and sensory hairs allow it to detect the odour of decomposition. The proboscis (lower centre) is used for feeding, though not usually on dead bodies. A blowfly can reach a corpse minutes after death and lay its eggs. The decaying flesh feeds maggots (larvae) that hatch from the eggs within 24 hours. Fresh, unhatched blowfly eggs indicate a very recent time of death. Magnification unknown.

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Keywords: animal, antenna, antennae, blowfly, coloured, compound, crime research, death, decay, decomposition, eye, eyes, face, female, fly, forensic entomology, forensics, hair, head, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, labella, lucilia sp., mouthpart, mouthparts, nature, proboscis, scanning electron micrograph, sem, sensory hairs, wildlife, zoology

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