The blowfly C. vicina is a fairly large Dipteran species and generally measure at 5-13 millimeters in length.  The conspicuous size range is a function of the adaption to fighting for food.  Since fresh cadavers are limited and furthermore last only a short time, there is huge competition between individuals.  The size of adults has a big impact on their life spans and fecundity (Natural History Museum Online 2013).
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Sense of Smell:
According to (Aak & Knudsen 2012) saprophagous (decomposing) blowflies, which include C. vicina, have the ability to detect olfactory cues indicating the beginning stages of decomposition.  Since they are primary colonizers of cadavers (Davies & Harvey 2012) this adaption is essential.  In fact, these organisms’ senses are so in tune that they can arrive at the scene of a cadaver within minutes of death (Davies & Harvey 2012).  Their olfactory cues give them a huge advantage over other, slower decompers.  Fungi like Aleuria aurantia ( require more time to access cadavers' nutrients.  Their rapid arrival is also a great tool in forensic entomology because it allows us to discover the time of death of individuals (Aak & Knudsen 2012) which will be discussed more in depth on the Role in Forensics page. 

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Being animals these organisms possess forms of locomotion, and can travel by means of legs and wings (Campbell et al. 2008).  Having wings is important adaption considering the fact that they have to find scarce carcasses to feed on.  As all members of Diptera, the hind wings of these organisms are minimized to little “club-like” structures known as halters.  These halters are used as stabilizers for when in flight.  Halters are essential for these flies because they give them their ability to manuver efficiently and hover in specific locations (CSIRO 2013).  To understand a different variation of wings in insects, check out Mayflies at

In the majority of Diptera species, and in this case C. vicina,  digestion is partially external because salivary secretions are used to make potential food a liquid so then it can be easily sucked up.  The secretions are crucial because they allow them to injest colder bodies and/or tough matter.  Adult flies are then able to ingest their food through sucking and/or piercing organs on their mouths, which is fast and simple.  This is most likely an adaption to competition from extreme cadaver frenzys (CSIRO 2013).


Find out how this species Reproduces!