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article imageCorpse-eating fly comes 'back from the dead' after 160 years

By Leigh Goessl     Jul 9, 2013 in Science
A fly that was declared extinct over a century ago appears to have come 'back from the dead'. Researchers in Europe were interested to find it had not vanished after all.
Over 100 years ago scientists had declared a "mystical" fly to have disappeared. However, current research shows these flies have not died off as previously believed, according Live Science.
The fly has long believed to be extinct and has been described as a corpse-eating fly. This reference was dubbed because of the flies' preference of feeding on dead bodies in "advanced stages of decay". It is not attracted to recently deceased bodies or its flesh.
Also referred to as bone-skippers, these flies prefer large animals or humans to feed on. Many species of this corpse-feeding fly went extinct about 160 years ago. Bone skippers began to be seen again in 2009. Media reports indicate the flies have been seen in Spain.
Pierfilippo Cerretti, a researcher at the Sapienza University of Rome, noted that these flies have historically been considered to be "mythical" because of their habits of feeding at night, primarily during the cooler months, and also the lack of being observed by humans for well over a century. Over time, many have wondered if the fly was a myth.
But it turns out this type of fly is very real.
A resurgence of these corpse-eating flies has been seen over the past few years. And scientists have now been able to properly classify these flying insects.
Screen capture of a  corpse eating fly
Screen capture of a "corpse eating fly"
Screen capture/YouTube
The flies' "previous taxonomy was almost completely incorrect —a mess," Cerretti told LiveScience. "If you have no good specimens, you have no good taxonomy."
The species of fly is scientifically named Centrophlebomyia anthropophagi.
Full details of the study can be found in the most recent edition of the online journal ZooKeys.
More about corpse eating fly, Fly, extinct fly come back to life, Extinct, Centrophlebomyia anthropophagi
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