golden dung fly

(Scathophaga stercoraria)

Conservation Status
golden dung fly (Scathophaga stercoraria)
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked


not listed


Golden dung fly occurs in Europe, Africa, Japan, and North America. It is very common throughout the United States and in southern Canada. In some areas it is one of the most abundant species of fly. It is found wherever large mammals occur, especially in cattle farming areas.

Adults are slender, ¼ to long, and similar to house flies in appearance. Males are larger and golden-brown, females are smaller and greenish. Both sexes are hairy, but the male is much hairier.

There are bristles on the face and on the top of the head. There are two large compound eyes at the side of the head and three small simple eyes (ocelli) in a triangle at the top of the head. The compound eyes are orangish-brown and hairless. They do not meet at the top of the head in either sex. There is a V-shaped groove (suture) on the face just above the antennae bases. The antennae have three segments. The second segment has a longitudinal groove (suture) on top. The third segment has a short, forward-pointed bristle (arista) on the upper side.

The thorax is heavily bristled. The plate (hypopleuron) on the thorax just above the basal segment of hind leg (coxa) has no bristles. The plate between the throax and the abdomen (scutellum) has four bristles.

The abdomen is slender and densely covered with hairs.

As with all flies, there is only one pair of wings, the hind wings being reduced to small, knob-like structures (halteres) that are used for balance in flight. The wings are smoky brown and clear, with no dark spots. At the base of each wing there are two small, rounded lobes (calypters) that cover the halteres. The calypters are well-developed. The first posterior cell (R5) is has parallel sides. The second anal vein (2A) reaches the inner margin.

The legs are long and slender. The third segment (femur) of each leg on the male is densely covered below with long, brightly colored hairs. On the female, the femora have fewer hairs, and those are not brightly colored.




Total Length: ¼ to


Similar Species






Two to four generations per year: March to November






Life Cycle


Eggs are laid on raised areas of the dung of large mammals, especially cattle. The eggs hatch in one or two days. The larvae burrow into the soil and pupate after 10 to 20 days. Juvenile flies emerge in 10 to 80 days, depending on the temperature. Adults live one or two months. There are two to four overlapping generations per year.


Larva Food


Dung of large mammals


Adult Food


Mostly other fly species, occasionally other insects, including other golden dung flies when other food is scarce


Distribution Map



24, 29, 30.




Very common



Diptera (flies)  


Brachycera (circular-seamed flies, muscoid flies, short-horned flies)  


  No Rank Eremoneura  
  No Rank Cyclorrhapha (circular-seamed flies)  
  Zoosection Schizophora (schizophora flies)  
  Zoosubsection Calyptratae (calyptrate muscoids)  




Scathophagidae (dung flies)  







Musca merdaria

Musca stercoraria

Scatophaga stercoraria


Common Names


golden dung fly

yellow dung fly









A large bristle on the upper side of the third segment of the antenna of a fly.



On flies: one of two small membranous lobes at the base of the forewing that covers the haltere. On mosses: A thin cap that covers and protects the capsule and operculum and drops off at maturity.



On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.



In flies: a pair of knob-like structures on the thorax representing hind wings that are used for balance.



Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.



The exoskeletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects. In Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Homoptera, the dorsal, often triangular plate behind the pronotum and between the bases of the front wings. In Diptera, the exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and the thorax.






Visitor Photos

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Alfredo Colon

    golden dung fly (Scathophaga stercoraria)      





Scathophaga stercoraria
Lloyd Davies
  Scathophaga stercoraria  

Scathophaga stercoraria Yellow Dung fly




Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Furry Yellow Dung-Flies (Scathophaga stercoraria)
Nephthys Uk

Published on Apr 26, 2013

There was some composting waste stuck in the bottom of the 'Green' recycling bin. After it was emptied out (be grateful youtube doesn't let you smell!) these flies appeared. The males are the furry yellow, the females look more like normal flies.

They are known as the yellow or golden dung-fly (Scathophaga stercoraria).

*****Music Copyright Information for YouTube*****

Music: Jackpot
By: Jetwelder
Album: Golden

  Golden Dung Fly (Scathophagidae: Scathophaga stercoraria?) Feeding
Carl Barrentine

Published on Jul 2, 2011

Photographed at the Rydell NWR, Minnesota (29 June 2011).

  strontvliegen (Scathophaga stercoraria)

Published on Jul 24, 2014

Stront of drekvliegen

  Gelbe Dungfliege (Scathophaga stercoraria)
Lothar Lenz

Published on Apr 30, 2015

Zur Paarung treffen sich die Gelben Dungfliegen auf noch warmen Dung (z.B. Pferdeäpfeln oder Kuhfladen) und legen darin ihre Eier ab.




Visitor Sightings

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  Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

golden dung fly (Scathophaga stercoraria)  






Created: 2/5/2019

Last Updated:

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