SCIENTIFIC NAME: Tabanidae
NUMBER OF SPECIES/DISTRIBUTION
There are over 4,500 species in the tabanidae family.
DIET/FEEDINGTabanidae larvae are predators, collectors, and are even cannibalistic.
- These include the deer fly and the horse fly.
- They are distributed throughout the world and are common in North America during the summer months.
- Adult horse flies are more prevalent around aquatic habitats, as that is where they grow into adults.
- When Tabanidae adults emerge from their pupal stage they immediately begin mating and blood feeding.
- Adults are great fliers, and search for their mates visually.
- Most species of horse and deer flies have only one generation per year.
- Horse fly bites can cause health problems to humans, such as severe lesions, high fever, and even disability.
- Some people are allergic to the horse and deer flies' saliva, which they inject into the hosts' bodies in order to prevent blood clotting around the area being bitten.
- Female horse flies usually bite during the day. They are attracted to mammals by movement, carbon dioxide (which mammals breathe out), warmth, and shiny surfaces.
- Horse flies have beautiful eyes; they are often brightly coloured and sometimes have patterns and stripes.
- The antennae of horse flies have five segments and are thick at the base, getting thinner at with each segment. Deer fly antennae are long and thin throughout.
- The wings of horse flies are usually completely dark or completely clear. Conversely, deer fly wings are patterned.
Field Guide to Texas Insects (1999). Available here.
Irina Brake, The Diptera Site (2010). About the Tabanidae. Available here.
The Canadian Biodiversity Website (2010). Horse Flies and Deer Flies. Available here.
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Department of Entomology (2010). Horse Flies and Deer Flies. Availablehere.
Univeristy of Minnesota; Guide to Aquatic Invertebrates of the Upper Midwest (2004). Diptera. Available here.
University of Rhode Island (1999). Deer and Horse Flies. Available here.
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