The syrphid Eristalis tenax Linnaeus (Diptera: Syrphidae) may be found in and around dung storage pits at cattle farms at various developmental stages of their life cycle. The purpose of this study was to investigate the occurrence of Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis in 1044 E. tenax samples at various developmental stages, as well as fresh and stored dung originating from nine cattle farms. Mycobacterium fortuitum was isolated from one (1.5%) larva from the vicinity of three paratuberculosis-free herds of cattle. Mycobacterium a. paratuberculosis was isolated from 111 (21.4%) of E. tenax larvae collected from two of seven farms known to be infected with the causal agent of paratuberculosis. Mycobacteria were not isolated from any of the 340 pupae, 41 adults of 78 samples of exoskeletal exuviae. Mycobacterium a. paratuberculosis isolates from E. tenax larvae were of the IS900 restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) type B-C1, identical to that detected in faecal samples from cattle herds infected with paratuberculosis. Larvae artificially infected with mycobacteria of IS900 RFLP type B-C9 did not contain statistically more CFU of identical IS900 RFLP type B-C9 in the intestinal tract and internal organs than on the body surface. These results show that M. a. paratuberculosis can survive in the intestinal tract and internal organs of E. tenax.