Garden Gold

October 17th, 2011 | by | 4 Comments
Published in Backyard Garden, Flies, Invertebrates, Macro Monday
Tags: , , , , , ,

We’ve recently added a winter layer of seaweed to the garden and, in addition to the nutrients returned to the soil, it has attracted a whole host of new flies.

Golden-haired Dung Fly (Scathophaga stercoraria)

Rotting seaweed added to the garden to replenish the soil has attracted a number of Golden-haired Dung Flies (Scathophaga stercoraria).

These gorgeous golden flies are Golden-haired Dung Flies (Scathophaga stercoraria). Appropriately named, they are a striking golden brown in full sunlight (these images were taken in partial shade late in the day) and, like the name suggests, lay their eggs in dung or wet decaying vegetation. The rotting seaweed does have a particularly pungent odour, which might explain why they’ve turned up in numbers this week.

Golden-haired Dung Flies (Scathophaga stercoraria) Mating

A pair of mating Golden-haired Dung Flies (Scathophaga stercoraria) - note the difference between the golden coloured male and the less striking female.

I spent some time in the garden sitting on the grass and observing the dung flies in action at eye level in the raised garden beds. Many were coupled together with the larger male on top of the rather plain, smaller female. The pairs would move around on the seaweed, stopping occasionally. The male would then slowly and deliberately move its front legs forward, describing an arc in front of and along the sides of the thorax of the female. I’ve found a couple of accounts that state that the male holds the female’s wings during copulation but didn’t witness this.

Despite their somewhat unwholesome selection of material to lay eggs in, these flies are definitely beautiful and very interesting to watch up close. You just have to hold your nose while taking a closer look!

Macro MondayConnoisseurs of the small might want to check out more similar macro related posts and photos at Macro Monday at Lisa’s Chaos and in the #Macro Monday theme on GooglePlus.


  1. Peter B says:

    October 17th, 2011 at 11:12 pm (#)

    Wonderful macro shots!!

  2. ShonEjai says:

    October 17th, 2011 at 11:22 pm (#)

    These are some very interesting photos of some very interesting looking flies. Well done

  3. Ida says:

    October 19th, 2011 at 9:27 pm (#)

    Wow your fly photo’s are awesome. I however don’t think I’d be able to stand the smell to get that close.

  4. Island Nature  :: A Trio of Gulls says:

    October 29th, 2011 at 9:28 pm (#)

    […] gulls. Note the similarity in the appearance of this fly with Scathophaga stercoraria which I photographed on seaweed we put on on our backyard garden.These flies (Scathophaga intermedia) were numerous at Air Force Beach – a good food source for […]

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