Horse Fly Andy
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Horse Fly (Tabanidae)

Tabanus Giant Horsefly also known as Cleg Flies.

A very large fly with large brilliant coloured eyes these flies are pests to cattle as its the female horse fly which sucks blood from mammals to help develop their eggs, the male feeds on nectar. A bite from a female horse fly is very painful as they have sharp piercing mouth-parts. Horseflies can also carry diseases and parasites and their saliva can cause an allergic reaction dizziness or infection. I have been bitten on the arm by a smaller species of horsefly when filming deer in the New Forest. I only felt the pain after it bit me as I did not hear it coming like a Mosquito as they have a much lower pitched humming noise. I wish I could have filmed it but I quickly brushed it away. The resulting mark it left on my skin turned into a very large hard bump and stayed for many days. All horseflies have those very colourful banded eyes which they use to detect prey. I would like to film the eyes with my digital camera for some interesting pictures in the future, but hopefully not pitched on me. The large maggot looking larvae live in woodland ponds, bogs and wet soil feeding on other insect larvae.


I read a tragic story in July 2013 how a doting father Andy Batty 48 was in a field near their home in Brixham, Devon watching his daughter riding her pony when after a bite from a horsefly he went into an anaphylactic shock and died before paramedics could reach him. Even though he was 6ft tall a broad man who could lift heavy weights. Its usually wasps or bee stings and some foods which causes the potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. Some people with a previous history of anaphylaxis have to carry an injection of adrenaline with them at all times.