Bug of the Month July 2018: Giant Horse Fly Creates Media Buzz in England

Subject:  What the hell is it??
Geographic location of the bug:  Bassenthwaite Cumbria England
Date: 07/01/2018
Time: 12:20 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please help me with what the hell this is!!
How you want your letter signed:  Gail.

Giant Horse Fly

Dear Gail,
Congratulations on being chosen Bug of the Month for July 2018 with your query of this Giant Horse Fly, in the genus
Tabanus.    You are the third identification request we have received this week, and we quickly linked to a Huffington Post posting.  We cannot tell due to the camera angle if this is a male or female Giant Horse Fly.  Males in the genus have compound eyes that nearly touch one another while the eyes of the female have a space between them.  Only the female Giant Horse Fly will bite as the male does not feed on blood which is necessary for the female to lay viable eggs.  That blood generally comes from livestock including horses and cattle, but when livestock or other large mammals are not available, the opportunistic Horse Flies might bite humans, but try to remember after viewing the images on that Huffington Post article that most encounters between humans and Horse Flies do not end with bites.  The Gadfly that tormented Io in Greek mythology was most likely a Giant Horse Fly as Wikipedia confirms.  Long ago, the mythological Io was also the inspiration for the name of the lovely North American Io Moth as was consistent with the pattern set with 18th Century taxonomists like Linnaeus and Fabricius.

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