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  • Black Horse Fly - (Tabanus atratus)

    Black Horse Fly - (Tabanus atratus)

    Large Black Horse Flies are notorious biters of horses and all things smaller, including humans, leaving behind painful sores on its victims.


    Staff Writer (7/1/2017): Black Horse Flies are about an inch long, making them highly visible and somewhat intriguing to watch. They are fast fliers despite their size. Females feed on blood, and they are not averse to taking it from anything that has it. Their mouthparts cut open flesh, allowing blood to ooze out. They use a proboscis to sponge up the blood, leaving behind an open wound. These wounds ban become infected and can pose a threat to livestock health. They are also very painful to humans. Males do not bite and do not drink blood. Males actually drink flower nectar and spend their days looking for females to mate with.

    Males and females are both completely black, but males have huge eyes that touch each other at the center of the face; the eyes of females are separated. It's the size of the eyes that strikes curiosity in most people that see them. The color of the eyes may vary depending on the lighting. Facets comprising each eye reflect light, so sometimes their eyes appear black, sometimes silver (see photo gallery) and sometimes shades of their surroundings.

    This species is found in the eastern part of the continent. Females lay fertilized eggs on or near water sources. Maggots (larvae) feed on other aquatic insects and worms.

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    Details of the:
    Black Horse Fly


    Category: Fly or Mosquito
    Common name: Black Horse Fly
    Scientific Name: Tabanus atratus

    Taxonomy:
      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Diptera
          Family: Tabanidae
           Genus: Tabanus
            Species: atratus





    Size (Adult, Length): 20mm to 28mm (0.79in to 1.10in)

    Identifying Colors: black

    Additional Descriptors: huge, plump, eyes, large,


    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Ohio; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Mexico


    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.





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