housefly


housefly
/hows"fluy'/, n., pl. houseflies.
a medium-sized, gray-striped fly, Musca domestica, common around human habitations in nearly all parts of the world.
Also, house fly.
[1400-50; late ME; see HOUSE, FLY2]

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Common dipteran (Musca domestica), accounting for about 90% of all flies in human dwellings.

The adult is dull gray with dirty-yellowish areas on the abdomen. Body size ranges from 0.2 to 0.3 in. (5–7 mm), and the conspicuous compound eyes have some 4,000 facets. Because it has sponging or lapping mouthparts, it cannot bite. It is a problem wherever decomposing organic waste and garbage are allowed to accumulate. Its feet may carry millions of microorganisms, some of which cause diseases, including cholera, dysentery, and typhoid. Some insecticides are effective, but houseflies have developed resistance to others.

House fly (Musca domestica) on a doughnut

Avril Ramage
© Oxford Scientific Films Ltd.

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insect
 (Musca domestica), a common insect of the family Muscidae (order Diptera). About 90 percent of all flies occurring in human habitations are houseflies. Once a major nuisance and hazard to public health in cities, houseflies are still a problem wherever decomposing organic waste and garbage are allowed to accumulate. The adult housefly is dull gray with dirty-yellowish areas on the abdomen and longitudinal lines on the thorax. Body size ranges from about 5 to 7 mm (0.2 to 0.3 inch), and the conspicuous compound eyes have approximately 4,000 facets. Because it has sponging or lapping mouthparts, the housefly cannot bite; a near relative, the stable fly, however, does bite. The housefly can walk on vertical window panes or hang upside down on a ceiling probably because of the surface-tension properties of a secretion produced by tiny glandular pads (pulvilli) beneath each claw on the feet. The female deposits more than 100 slender whitish eggs (0.8 to 1 mm long) at a time, producing between about 600 and 1,000 eggs in her life. These eggs hatch in 12 to 24 hours. After several molts the dirty-whitish maggots (larvae), about 12 mm long, transform into pupae. The adults, when developed, expand a pouch (ptilinum) on the head and break off the end of the puparium to emerge.

      Houseflies may carry on their feet millions of microorganisms that, in large enough doses, can cause disease. Garbage, manure, and similar wastes that cannot be made inaccessible to flies can be treated with larvicidal drenches or dusts. Residual insecticidal sprays are effective against flies for several weeks; however, some houseflies have developed resistance to certain insecticides, such as DDT.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • housefly — house fly n. 1. common fly ({Musca domestica}) that frequents human habitations and spreads many diseases. Syn: {Musca domestica}. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • housefly — early 15c., from HOUSE (Cf. house) (n.) + FLY (Cf. fly) (n.) …   Etymology dictionary

  • housefly — ► NOUN ▪ a common small fly occurring in and around human habitation …   English terms dictionary

  • housefly — [hous′flī΄] n. pl. houseflies any of a genus (Musca) of disease carrying muscid flies found in and around houses, and feeding on garbage, manure, and food; esp., a common worldwide species ( M. domestica): see INSECT …   English World dictionary

  • Housefly — Not to be confused with horsefly. Housefly Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylu …   Wikipedia

  • housefly — UK [ˈhaʊsˌflaɪ] / US noun [countable] Word forms housefly : singular housefly plural houseflies a very common flying insect that often lives in houses and is attracted by food …   English dictionary

  • housefly — noun Date: 15th century a cosmopolitan dipteran fly (Musca domestica) that is often about human habitations and may act as a mechanical vector of diseases (as typhoid fever); also any of various flies of similar appearance or habitat …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • housefly — noun The common fly, of the species Musca domestica that occurs in most homes; it can spread some diseases …   Wiktionary

  • housefly — See Musca, Fannia. * * * house·fly .flī n, pl flies a cosmopolitan dipteran fly of the genus Musca (M. domestica) that is often found about human habitations and may act as a mechanical vector of diseases (as typhoid fever) also any of various… …   Medical dictionary

  • housefly — house|fly [ˈhausflaı] n plural houseflies a common type of fly that lives in people s houses …   Dictionary of contemporary English


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