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Common cluster fly - Pollenia rudis
Common cluster fly - Pollenia rudis

Common cluster fly
The common cluster fly (Pollenia Rudis), also known simply as the cluster fly, belongs to the order (Diptera), suborder Brachycera, infraorder Muscomorpha (Sub-Department: Calyptratae) the superfamily Oestroidea and to the family blowflies (Calliphoridae). It is of the subfamily Polleniinae and the genus Pollenia. This species is common and widespread in Europe, North America, North Africa and Asia. It reproduces 3-4 times a year and is non-dangered.
Pollenia rudis - Side view
Pollenia rudis - Side view
The common cluster fly is medium-sized, reaching body lengths of 4.5 to 12 mm. Its body is brownish-black. Its head is whitish-grey and it has a dark marking covered with black bristles in the middle of its face. The eyes, which are on top of the head and nearly touch, are compound, large, oval and reddish-brown in colour.
Common cluster fly - Top view
Common cluster fly - Top view
The chest section (thorax) has a dark greyish-green sheen, and is covered (especially in the case of the females) in thick, wavy, golden brown hair, growing backwards. These hairs thin out over time and then 4 dark lines appear lengthwise. The males have thicker hair at the sides. At the edges of the scutellum are 6-8 long, black bristles. The abdomen is olive coloured with some light patches. The wings, span 12-16 mm, shimmer brownish, have black veins and overlap on the abdomen in resting position. The common cluster fly is cumbersome in flight.
Blowfly - Pollenia rudis
Blowfly - Pollenia rudis
Adult flies have a life expectancy of approximately 1 year, are diurnal and prefer habitats such as grasslands, wetlands, fields, forests, large lawns, golf areas and other sports facilities, cemeteries, housing estates, stables and pavements. They appear throughout the year. From spring to summer, they are found on blooming coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), daisies (Bellis perennis) and common hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium), where they feed on nectar and pollen.
Common cluster fly with a drop in the mouth
Common cluster fly with a drop in the mouth
In summer you can see the common cluster fly in flowers, on overripe fruit, carrion or dung heaps, in September, on blooming goldenrod (Solidago) and in October, in large numbers on sunlit tree trunks or on walls. The common cluster fly likes to suck up sap ‘bleeding’ from trees.
It overwinters as an adult without food and without reproducing. These fliessearch for small cavities in attics and storage areas in human settlements to overwinter, often in droves. They wake up on warm sunny days or when the heating is turned on and are then guided to the light. In early spring, they appear, often en masse, in skylights or on the window panes of barns and sheds.
Common cluster flies mate from May on. The females lay eggs in crevices in the soil. The development from larvae to adult takes about two months. After hatching, the larvae infect earthworms from the family Lumbricidae (especially those of the genus Allolobophora) by penetrating their skin. They feed on the worms’ interior tissue and body fluid. The larvae are capable of infecting several worms before they pupate.
The common cluster fly poses no threat to humans, as it doesn’t lay eggs in human food stores. Nevertheless, it can be annoying, especially when it occurs en masse. Insectivores are natural enemies of the common cluster fly.

Pollenia rudis
Common namesCommon cluster fly, Cluster fly
German namesGraugelbe Polsterfliege
Danish namesAlmindelig klyngeflue
Finnish namesUllakkokärpänen
AuthorJohann Christian Fabricius, 1794

North Europe (British Isles (United Kingdom (Great Britain (England (English Midlands (East Midlands (Leicestershire))))), Ireland), Germany, Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark), Fennoscandia (Finland), Baltic region (Baltic States (Estonia))), West Europe (Austria, France, Switzerland, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands)), South Europe (Italy (Italy Islands (Sicily), North Italy), Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal)), Southeast Europe (Greece), Central Europe (Czech Republic)
South Asia (Afghanistan)
New Zealand, Hawaii
North Africa
East Africa
Indian Ocean islands (Mauritius)
South America
North America
Canada (Alberta, Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan), USA
Caribbean islands (Antilles (Lesser Antilles (Windward Islands (Martinique))))

Ecozones: Holarctic, Nearctic

Distribution by Synonymus:
Musca obscura   Argentina
Musca rudis   Mauritius, Martinique
Pollenia varia   South Europe
Musca pumila   preocc, Nouvelle-Hollande, Fallén
CountriesAfghanistan, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, USA, United Kingdom
Distr. infoWidespread
Links and ReferencesPollenia rudis in
Pollenia rudis in
Pollenia rudis in Wikipedia (English)

Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Common cluster fly - Pollenia rudis
2. Pollenia rudis - Side view
3. Common cluster fly - Top view
4. Blowfly - Pollenia rudis
5. Common cluster fly with a drop in the mouth
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Pollenia rudis
Common cluster fly, Cluster fly
AuthorFabricius, 1794
Dasypollenia angustifrons
Musca familiaris
Musca floralis
Musca fulvicornis
Musca fulvipalpis
Musca hirticollis
Musca obscura
Musca olivacea
Musca pruinosa
Musca pumila
Musca recta
Musca remigro
Musca rudis
Musca rufipalpis
Musca varia
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Pollenia rudis angustige
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