Currently viewing the category: "Horse Flies and Deer Flies"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Big Black Flying bug at night
Location: Kingsville, Tx
November 15, 2016 10:12 pm
I live in South Texas, Kingsville. This is the first time I have ever seen this kind of bug. It likes my yellow bug light, but goes crazy with a flash. Anyway, it is about 1-2 inch long. Sending a picture.
Signature: Marko

Male Black Horse Fly

Male Black Horse Fly

Dear Marko,
Your images are really underexposed and lacking in detail, but they definitely reveal that your visitor is a Horse Fly.  Once we lightened the image by adjusting the levels, we could see that the eyes are spaced closely together, indicating this is a male.  We believe you have a male Black Horse Fly,
Tabanus atratus, and the good news is that only female Horse Flies are blood-suckers.

Hey thanks guys. I’m glad it wasn’t a female. I already had enough bloodsucking ex wives. JK LOL or am I.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Challenge to our Readers:  Help us identify this striking looking Fly

Subject: Giant Malaysian Fly
Location: Malaysia
October 2, 2016 8:03 am
Hi,
I’ve seen this fly on occasion and am unable to identify it. It’s the largest fly I’ve ever seen, around the size of a large deer fly, around 1.5 inches in size. Though I think I’ve even seen as big as 2 inches.
They have shiny, bluish backs, and about 1/4 of the end of their abdomen is yellow. They are generally slow.
Signature: Alex

Horse Fly, we believe

Horse Fly, we believe

Dear Alex,
We have not had any luck finding similar looking images online, but we believe this is a female Horse Fly in the family Tabanidae.  Interestingly, our searches did bring up images of a “gold butt” Horse Fly that was captured in 1981 in Australia and has recently been named after pop diva Beyonce.  According to Asian Scientist:  “A previously un-named species of horse fly with golden hair on its lower abdomen has been named in honor of pop diva, Beyoncé – a member of the former group Destiny’s Child.  AsianScientist (Jan. 13, 2012) – A previously un-named species of horse fly with golden hair on its lower abdomen has been named in honor of pop diva, Beyoncé – a member of the former group Destiny’s Child, that recorded the 2001 hit single, Bootylicious. According to the Australian National Insect Collection researcher responsible for officially ‘describing’ the fly as Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae, CSIRO’s Bryan Lessard, the fly’s spectacular gold color makes it the ‘all time diva of flies.'”  The site also notes:  “‘It was the unique dense golden hairs on the fly’s abdomen that led me to name this fly in honor of the performer Beyoncé as well as giving me the chance to demonstrate the fun side of taxonomy – the naming of species,’ Mr Lessard said.”  Weekly World News also picked up the story and notes:  “CANBERRA, Australia — A newly discovered horse fly in Australia was so ‘bootylicious’ with its golden-haired butt, that entomologists named it: Beyonce.  Previously published results from Bryan Lessard, a 24-year-old researcher at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, were recently announced on the species that had been sitting in a fly collection since it was captured in 1981 – the same year pop diva Beyonce was born.”  Though your fly shares the striking gold butt, your individuals blue body and black wings make it an even more striking looking fly.  We hope our readers will take up this challenge and write to us with their findings.

Hi Daniel!
I appreciate the quick reply!  I did a Google search with the “gold butt” Horse fly name, and saw what you’re referring to.  It’s similar in appearance, but not identical.  I don’t know if that means they’re related?  The main difference is that the fly I found is completely hairless.   If you guys want, I can capture one (next time I see one… I see them once every few months) and send it to you.   I sometimes find them dead, and can prepare a specimen for you (if you let me know how. 🙂 ).
Thanks!

Hi again Alex,
Let’s let our readership attempt to identify your fly before we resort to capturing a specimen.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Big cool fly
Location: Exeter, NH
August 19, 2016 5:45 am
Hi,
I saw this on my car this morning. I wanted to know what it was. Thank you.
Signature: Cheryl

Male Black Horse Fly

Male Black Horse Fly

Hi Cheryl,
This is a male Black Horse Fly,
Tabanus atratus.  According to BugGuide:  “Very wide range of habitats; generally near aquatic environments (Long 2001). Requires moist environments in which to lay eggs, and mammals to feed on (Long 2001). Larvae live ‘along the margins of ponds and ditches.'”  BugGuide also notes:  “Females feed on mammalian blood; males, which lack mandibles, feed on nectar and plant juices (Long 2001). Especially prone to attack cattle and other livestock.”  When livestock are not available, female Horse Flies will bite humans.  You can tell your individual is a male because of the large, close-set eyes.  Female Horse Flies have a space between their eyes.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Impressive killer
Location: California, ky. 20 minutes south of cincinnati
August 14, 2016 6:42 pm
Hello, I found a photo of the insect in question on the Internet and it directed me to your page. I couldn’t find the image I saw on your web site, so I am contacting you. This insect was flying around with a horse fly in its grips and eventually landed on me…. Then on one of my banana trees, where he rested for at least a half hour (see pic). You are welcome to use my images on your web site as they are quite interesting.
Signature: Thanks, Tony Painter

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Horse Fly

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Horse Fly

Dear Tony,
This impressive predator is a Giant Robber Fly known as a Red Footed Cannibalfly,
Promachus rufipes, and they are adept hunters who can take very large prey on the wing.  There is even a report on the Hilton Pond Center website of a Red Footed Cannibalfly catching a hummingbird.  We believe the prey in your awesome images is Tabanus americanus, because of the red antennae.  Can you confirm that the Horse Fly has green eyes?  They are not readily visibly green in your images.  We are very impressed that you were able to walk around this awesome Food Chain encounter to get images from both sides.  As an aside, we had never heard of California, Kentucky, and we learned that as of the 2014 census, your sity has a population of 87.

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Horse Fly

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Horse Fly

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Mysterious “swimming bug”
Location: Salina Turda in Romania
July 31, 2016 2:31 am
Hello,
Could you help us with the identification of this one?
During the holidays in Romania (salt mines called Salina Turda) we found a strange worm in one of the outdoors swimming pools. It was floating on the surface and at first we thought it’s a piece of plant, but then we noticed it was “shaking”. There was about 8-10% salinity in the water, so we took the bug outside, worried that it may be in pain. Later we put it into the wet mud, near the salty pools and normal river, so it could return to salt waters if it in fact was its natural enviroment.

Some facts about the worm:
– It wasn’t longer than five cm. No legs, no visible eyes nor mouth, only small bump and long stick from the other side.
– Its “skin” was really soft in touch, but on the sides of the body it had sharp ridges and small spikes.
– It was moving in a really strange way, using this long stick (tail?) to push itself. He was suprisingly fast outside of the water. When bothered, it was freezing with it’s tail holded upright.
– More about the tail, it has few tiny hair on the end.

Some more facts:
– It was the middle of July (18th).
– Except of those salt pools, there was plenty of normal water.
– People around didn’t recognize the species.

Can you help us? We wish we could knew what it was.
Signature: Tourists

Probably Horse Fly Larva

Probably Horse Fly Larva

Dear Tourists,
This is definitely Dipteran, and we believe it might be a Horse Fly Larva.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Hover fly in Scotland
Location: Scottish West Highlands
August 2, 2016 10:58 am
This creature was about 1 inch long, seemed really massive! I’m in the West Highlands of Scotland. It also seemed on its last legs but disappeared after a while.
Signature: Alison

Female Dark Giant Horse Fly

Female Dark Giant Horse Fly

Dear Alison,
This is a female Dark Giant Horse Fly,
Tabanus sudeticus, and you can tell she is a female by the spacing between her eyes.  Your three different views are a wonderful way to provide an excellent identification guide for our readership.  According to Influential Points, it is also known as the Dark Behemothic Horsefly.

Female Dark Giant Horse Fly

Female Dark Giant Horse Fly

Thank you so much. Lots of people guessing at my photo on Facebook but none of us got it right. I’m posted your link. Thank you!

Female Dark Giant Horse Fly

Female Dark Giant Horse Fly

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination