horse fly

horse fly
any bloodsucking, usually large fly of the family Tabanidae, esp. of the genus Tabanus, a serious pest of horses, cattle, etc.
[1350-1400; ME horsfleeye]

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 any member of the insect family Tabanidae (order Diptera), but more specifically any member of the genus Tabanus. These stout flies, as small as a housefly or as large as a bumble bee, are sometimes known as greenheaded monsters; their metallic or iridescent eyes meet dorsally in the male and are separate in the female. Gad fly, a nickname, may refer either to the fly's roving habits or to its mouthparts, which resemble a wedge-shaped miner's tool. Other such names are breeze fly and ear fly. One of the most common species (Tabanus lineola) has bright-green eyes and is known as green head. The genus Chrysops, usually known as deer fly, is slightly smaller than Tabanus and has dark markings on the wings.

 Adult horse flies are fast, strong fliers that are usually found around streams, marshes, and wooded areas. They may be carriers of various animal diseases such as anthrax, tularemia, and trypanosomiasis. Females deposit long, flat, black eggs in clusters; the eggs are laid on the grass. Horse flies overwinter in the larval stage, pupate in spring, and emerge as adults by late June.

      The bloodsucking females may be serious pests to humans and animals. When abundant they sometimes suck three ounces or more of blood a day from a host. When the genus Haematopota becomes too abundant, agricultural work can only be done at night when the fly is not active. The males feed on nectar, honeydew, and plant sap.

      Control methods include draining or oiling of breeding places; sprays are not usually successful. Covering a horse with a blanket or fly net helps protect it from horse fly attacks.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Horse-fly — Tabanus sulcifrons[1] Scientific classification Kingdom …   Wikipedia

  • horse fly — horse′ fly or horse′fly n. ent any bloodsucking, usu. large fly of the family Tabanidae • Etymology: 1350–1400 …   From formal English to slang

  • horse|fly — «HRS FLY», noun, plural flies. 1. any one of a group of large flies with two wings, the females of which bite animals, especially horses; gadfly. 2. any one of certain other flies which are troublesome to horses …   Useful english dictionary

  • horse fly — noun large swift fly the female of which sucks blood of various animals • Syn: ↑horsefly, ↑cleg, ↑clegg • Hypernyms: ↑gadfly • Member Holonyms: ↑Tabanidae, ↑family Tabanidae …   Useful english dictionary

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