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Any member of the dipteran family Calliphoridae, including the screwworm and the bluebottle, greenbottle, and cluster flies. Metallic blue, green, or bronze, and noisy in flight, blowflies resemble the housefly in size and habits. The larvae usually feed on decaying flesh and sometimes infest open wounds. They may help prevent infection by cleaning away dead flesh, but may also destroy healthy tissue. Blowflies were once used to treat gangrene and a human bone disease and were used in World War I to clean soldiers' wounds. Some species seriously hurt or kill livestock by massive infestation or by carrying diseases such as anthrax, dysentery, and jaundice.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on blowfly, visit Britannica.com.