Sepsids are about 4 mm long, shining black or reddish-brown flies; they look somewhat like winged ants or small wasps (Fig. 7.2b; Fig. 7.7f). The head is spherical and the abdomen narrow at the base. Many species have a dark spot along the costal margin of the wing. Larvae live in decaying organic materials, and are commonly found in excrement. Mostspecies of Themira develop in the mud alongside ponds and streams, particularly where this is enriched by dung or sewage effluent.

T. putris and T. nigricornis will feed on human excrement, sludge, and sewer seepage. Other sepsids associated with human feces include T. leachi, T. nigricornis, Meroplius minutus, and Sepsis ful-gens, S. pectoralis, S. punctum, and S. violacea.

Eggs have long respiratory filaments and are laid directly on the larval food; hatching occurs in about 2 days. Larvae are able to jump on the surface of infested material by grasping and releasing their posterior, similar to the hop made by cheese skipper (Piophila) larva. Larval development is completed in 7-32 days, and generally depends on temperature and humidity. Pupariation occurs in the larval food or in the soil beneath the infested material. The pupal stage lasts 8-13 days in warm weather, but may be 19 weeks in winter.

Scavenger fly, sepsis pectoralis Adults are about 4.5 mm long and black. Full-grown larvae are 5-6 mm long, slender and pale white except for yellowish-white spiracles. Segments 5-10 have ventral, transverse rows of setae. The anterior spiracles are inconspicuous and with 5-7 lobes. The posterior spiracles are distinctly separated on sclerotized projections. The caudal segmenthas four tubercles surrounded by a broad band of spines. This species occurs in rotting garbage and household waste.

sepsis violacea Adults are about 4 mm long shiny black. Wings are gray and have a dark spot at the anterior margin near the tip. Larvae breed in animal and human excrement, they occur in decaying food, and they are found at windows indoors.

Black scavenger fly, Themira putris Adults are about 5 mm long, shining black, and with a distinctly round head. The abdomen of the adult is constricted at the base, and it appears somewhat wasplike. This species typically breeds in rich organic matter, such as carrion, manure, and the sludge of sewage treatment plants. Occasionally, the mass emergence of adults can infest neighborhoods and adults can occur indoors and outdoors.

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