Western Horse Fly
Tabanus punctifer


What's the most dreaded insect in the west? You guessed it!

western horse fly
I usually see these at a distance, and I prefer it that way. This one was just sitting on some grass next to a
parking lot at Bear River MBR. Because there were other, MANY other, biting flies outside
I opened the
window and took these pictures with a telephoto lens making sure I didn't let my
elbows hang out because
 the deer and horse flies would try to bite them when I did (which can drive me to the brink of insanity!)
I also had my air conditioner on full blast pointed at the window to keep the flies from entering. This works
great except that the whole side of my face and ear were turning numb from the cold. Carol Davis 7-19-2015


horse fly
I rotated this photo so you can see the fly easier.  Horse Flies are very large and scary and I occasionally
see them on Antelope Island, as well as Bear River MBR.  When I backpacked in my younger days,
I
always pitied the poor pack horses we'd see go by covered in horse flies, but we always secretly prayed
 they'd take a few of our biting flies with them
Even the larvae of this species can bite and, according to
Bugguide, have mouthparts identical in structure to rattlesnakes. Now there's a comforting piece of
trivia for you to mull over while you're lounging in some warm mineral springs where they like to reside!
 

Here's an interesting fact: there are wasps called Horse-guard Wasps (Stictia carolina) that prey upon
horse flies.  Well, bless their little hearts!!!  Unfortunately, they live mostly in the East,  Midwest
and South. Check out this article on Wikipedia about them.
Carol Davis 7-19-2015
backpacker

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