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

Subject: Is the green horsefly rare?
Location: Vinton Louisiana
May 7, 2017 8:11 pm
I came home this evening to find what I thought was a cool lightening bug in my kitchen buzzing around the ceiling fan. However, upon googling it, found out it was a horsefly.
I am 42, have traveled to nearly half the states in the US and have never encountered one that was totally green.
I live in Vinton Louisiana.
Are they rare? Are they indigenous to a specific area & if so where is that area? Are they a new insect?
All information is welcome
Thank you for your time.
Signature: Tova

Green Horse Fly

Dear Tova,
Green Horse Flies,
Chlorotabanus crepuscularis, are not especially rare, though they might have very localized populations in their range.  According to BugGuide:  “Body pale green, eyes and thorax yellowish green. The only green tabanid in NA.”  So they are not rare, but they are unusual.  The large eyes indicate that your individual is a non-biting male.  Here is a map of the sightings reported on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: ID Please
Location: East London, South Africa
February 12, 2017 11:52 am
Hi,
I received a mobile photo of a rather large fly-like insect that I’m trying to identify for interest sake.
I have attached 2 cropped shots (sorry for poor quality) of the insect. It’s eating on a piece of apple, and a regular house fly can be seen in the background.
The photo was taken in East London, South Africa. Climate is coastal hot and humid.
I’d really appreciate it if you could try ID it for me please.
Many thanks
Signature: Kevin Durst

Male Horse Fly

Dear Kevin,
Because of the large eyes, this Horse Fly in the family Tabanidae can be sexed as male.  We found a similar image on iSpot, but it is only identified to the family level.  Female Horse Flies are blood suckers that commonly trouble livestock, and will bite humans if no four legged hosts are available.  Males only feed on sweets, mainly from fruits and nectar from flowers.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for such a quick response, and for your identification and information…I really do appreciate it.
I asked on a Facebook page dedicated to insect I.D. too, and it’s confirmed as Tabanus biguttatus, known locally as a Hippo Fly.
Best Regards
Kevin

Thanks for the species name assistance Kevin.  We actually have a well-researched Hippo Fly posting in our archives.

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