The Tabanidae are the Horse and Deer Flies. Pestiferous things sometimes, they frighten people. The huge ones frighten sensibly. And they have a nasty little blood-sucking bite in the females. They can be serious veterinary threats for large animals and transmit several diseases. The males nectar at flowers and are actually not seen that often. They are easily separated by the eyes which are contiguous in the males and divided in the females. Tabanus make up about 100 of the 300+ North American species. In the Georgia summary survey from 1985, 62 of the 141 forms in Georgia were in the genus Tabanus. This spot-winged horse fly is likely in the related Hybomitra genus and may be H. lasiopthalmus. The current working eastern species list appears here.

The larvae are aquatic and predaceous. The most powerful fliers in the genus have flight ranges of miles. There are a few solitary wasps that take horseflies as prey and I have seen the most fearless robber flies take them as well.

That is my denim leg cover. And this gal would not give up. Another Tabanus species. Had to shoot this shot one-handed and leaning. Looked mostly black in flight. And this was a very big horsefly. Wing markings more smoky than above species.

This one attacked me at Bell Slough. Or, well, one of his family members did. Hope to get the Tabanid list sorted out sometime soon. Very ruddy abdomen on this one. And green goggled eyes. September shot, and the Georgia survey showed that there are many species that fly only in spring and some that are strictly late summer fliers.

The most impressive horsefly I have ever seen. And I didn't even see it. Eric shot this in Florida and it is apparently the only member of the genus Chlorotabanus in the US. It also occurred in the Georgia survey in about 18 counties. Sounds like the name means 'green horse fly.' This appears to be a female with the very close eyes that don't quite touch. What a Tabanid!

The genus Chrysops makes up a large portion of the biting fly group in the Tabanidae. In the Georgia survey 51 of 141 forms in Georgia were in this genus. Commonest species in Georgia were brimleyi, callidus, flavidus, moechus, reicherti and univittatus. This extraordinarily eye-balled fly is one of these Chrysops. Note the nasty bleeding tool up front. And the hypnotic eye pattern. This genus can transmit diseases to humans including Tularemia. And the bite can be stingingly, burningly penetrating enough to make you jump and shout and drop your camera. Beware. And they can be persistent buzzing pests near streams and swampy water in Arkansas.

The face of another Chrysops from Lorance, where they were buzzing in clouds around the information plaques. They would peel off in formation and buzz around me. Several times I was rescued by attentive Common Pondhawk dragonflies that would take them on the wing. I am not familiar enough with the genus yet to know if the eye color patterns are distinctive for different species. Or if it is retained in specimens. This is certainly a variation from the above pattern. And the thorax coloration on this one is more golden. Really beautiful pests in macro view.