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The common housefly is a flying insect that is found throughout the world. The genus and species of the housefly is Musca domestica.

Anatomy: Like all insects, the housefly has a body divided into three parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), a hard exoskeleton, and six jointed legs. Flies also have a pair of transparent wings. The Housefly can taste using its its feet and with its mouthparts. Adults are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch (6 - 12.5 mm) long with 13 - 15 mm wingspan. Houseflies are dark gray, with four dark stripes down the top of the thorax. They have sponging mouthparts (they cannot bite); houseflies can only eat liquids, but they can liquefy many solid foods with their saliva.

Reproduction: The complete life-cycle of a housefly takes from 10 to 21 days. On the average, 12 generations of houseflies can be produced in one year. Adult females lay 120-150 tiny white eggs, usually in manure or other warm, moist, decaying organic matter. A female lives for about 2 1/2 months and can lay up to 1,000 eggs in her short life. The eggs are only about 0.04 inch (1 mm) long and hatch into white, worm-like maggots in about 12 hours. The maggots grow to be about 1/2 inch (12.5 mm) long. When they are this big, they burrow into the ground to pupate. An adult will emerge in about 5 to 6 days (in warm weather) or about a month (in cold weather).

Disease Carrier: The housefly is often a carrier of diseases, such as typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery, and anthrax. The fly transmits diseases by carrying disease organisms onto food. It picks up disease organisms on its leg hairs or eats them and then regurgitates them onto food (in the process of liquefying solid food).

Classification: Kingdom Animalia; Phylum Arthropoda; Class Insecta; Order Diptera ("two wings"); Family Muscidae; genus Musca; Species domestica.

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