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house fly (Musca domestica)

Closeup of a house fly perched light brown woven net. The fly has large red eyes; black legs, head and thorax; a light brown abdomen; and smoky translucent wings.

A few countries recycle manure by feeding it to larvae of the house fly (Musca domestica, adult shown here) and then using the larvae as an ingredient of animal feed. Because they can spread pathogens, however, house flies have been avoided most everywhere else. The black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens), on the other hand, is not a disease threat and so is widely approved as a recycling agent. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its use in 2018. But the house fly deserves the same status as a tool for recycling animal waste, some researchers say. (Photo by Chelsea D. Miranda, Ph.D.)

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