Morphology of the first instar larva of obligatory traumatic myiasis agents (Diptera: Calliphoridae, Sarcophagidae)

K. Szpila, M. J.R. Hall, A. H. Wardhana, T. Pape

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22 Citations (Scopus)


There are only three fly species that are obligate agents of traumatic myiasis of humans and livestock: a single species of flesh fly, Wohlfahrtia magnifica (Sarcophagidae), and two species of blow flies, Chrysomya bezziana and Cochliomyia hominivorax (Calliphoridae). The morphology of their first instar larvae is thoroughly and consistently documented here with light microscopy photographs and scanning electron microscopy micrographs. The following morphological structures are documented: pseudocephalon, antennal complex, maxillary palpus, oral ridges, thoracic and abdominal spinulation, spiracular field, posterior spiracles and cephaloskeleton. New diagnostic features drawn from the cephaloskeleton and the spinulation of abdominal segments, including the anal pad, are discovered and extensively described. Earlier descriptions in the literature are revisited, and major discrepancies between these and the results of the current study are discussed. The present results allow clarification, correction and, especially, complementation of information provided by earlier authors. The relatively distant taxonomic position of all three species is evidence that obligatory myiasis has arisen independently, and the extensively similar morphology in the first instar larvae of Chrysomya bezziana, Cochliomyia hominivorax and W. magnifica in comparison to necrophagous species, especially the enhancement of the anterior part of the cephaloskeleton and the segmental spinulation, is therefore best interpreted as homoplasic adaptations to a life strategy as obligate vertebrate parasites. An identification key for first instar larvae of all obligatory traumatic myiasis agents of mammals is provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1629-1640
Number of pages12
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Chrysomya bezziana
  • Cochliomyia hominivorax
  • First instar larva
  • Identification
  • Morphology
  • Obligatory traumatic myiasis agents
  • SEM
  • Wohlfahrtia magnifica


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