Sarcophagid flies, flesh flies, resemble large house flies. Very typically, the adults have grey longitudinal stripes on their backs and grey and black checkered abdomens. The larvae of many species are parasites of invertebrates, but others are carrion feeders, or parasites of vertebrates in which the larvae develop in cutaneious lesions. Some are important as facultative myiasis producers, e.g., Sarcophagahemorrhoidalis, while others cause primary myiasis, Wohlfartiamagnifica in Europe and North Africa,, Wolfartiavigil in Canada and the northern United States and Wohlfartiaopaca in the western United States.
The general life cycle involves a larva that is produced by the larviparous females. The larvae invade wounds, or in the case of the primary myiasis producers, unbroken skin. The larvae then develop through three instars. The larvae can be recognized by the deep pit at the posterior end that contains the posterior spiracles. The spiracular plates are characteristic in that the inner slit of each spiracle is directed down and away from the median line. The pupa is dark brown and has a posterior pit at the base that houses the spiracles.