I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles

Greenbottle Lucilia sp

I believe this to be a Greenbottle blowfly, a member of the Calliphoridae family of the order Diptera and a Lucilia sp. I did not realise at the time of photographing that this female was blowing quite a clear bubble for me.  This appears to be quite a common activity in the insect world. So why do flies and some other insects blow bubbles? Well there appears to be several theories regarding this:

  • It aids in digestion.
  • It helps to clear the mouthparts.
  • As a defensive mechanism.
  • Elimination of excess water through evaporation.
  • Thermoregulatory

There are other theories, but I don’t think anybody really knows for sure. It’s not like you can ask them, “Hey, what you doin’ that for?'” is it?

Some bubbles are clear and some are opaque. Males do it as well as females. The bubbles are always redigested, never disgarded, unless sprayed in defense, although I have never seen this. Not that I avidly wait around and stalk flies waiting for them to blow bubbles.

Please click on the image for a larger more detailed view. Clicking a second time may get you a little closer.

Rear garden, Staffordshire, England. June 2017.


1 Greenbottle Hanging On

Greenbottle fly (Lucilia sp.) on basking Bracken. There are a number of different species of Greenbottle fly, all having this bright metallic greenish sheen to them, and they are hard to accurately identify without careful scrutiny.

These blowflies are often seen resting on foliage or flowers, and rarely enters our houses.They are abundant and widespread throughout. The female lays her eggs in dung, carrion or in the wounds of living animals.