Horse Fly

Hitch-hiking Horse Fly
Location:  North Middle Tennessee
August 16, 2010 8:22 pm
While driving down a country road looking for insects to photograph this one found me. It landed by the passenger side window. My wife saw it first and said, ”I don’t know what the heck that is.” I knew it was a horse fly but that was about all. I just now looked at the website to try and ID it. The very first horse fly (from yesterday) looks like a match. It appears this is a ”Tabanus sackeni” I wonder if they have a habit of hitching rides. Randall from Mi said his landed on the car as well. Thanks and have a great day.

Horse Fly

Hi Richard,
Our first thought upon looking at your images was that Randall sent more photos because your images are so similar to his.  We agree that this is another female
Tabanus sackeni, though we always allow for expert corrections to our amateur attempts.  You pose an interesting question.  We doubt that Horse Flies have evolved to the point that they are using Phoresy to get around.  Phoresy is the act of one creature hitching a ride on another creature.  We suspect it is more a matter of being attracted to the color of the car, or the reflectance, or something that we just don’t understand, but whatever the reason, it might make a nice study for a research paper.

Horse Fly

Here is one more photo for laughs.

Horse Fly
Photo of author


BugMan aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

1 thought on “Horse Fly”

  1. I’ve more often found these flies inside parked cars at the end of a hike.
    Given that these flies are likely to have evolved the ability to seek out targets that radiate body-warmth, it’s possible that 1, flies pursuing human targets end up in the cars because of that, or 2, the actual heat of the car is a trigger for them, and in circling their potential meal-item they fly through a half-open window and become trapped.


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