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For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
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Species Tabanus atratus - Black Horse Fly

Black Horse Fly - Tabanus atratus - male Black Fly - Tabanus atratus Black Horse Fly - Tabanus atratus horse fly?? - Tabanus atratus - male Black Horse Fly - Tabanus atratus Tabanidae: Tabanus atratus - Tabanus atratus - female Which Tabanus is this? - Tabanus atratus - male Which horse fly? - Tabanus atratus
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon (Orthorrhapha)
Infraorder Tabanomorpha
Family Tabanidae (Horse and Deer Flies)
Subfamily Tabaninae (Horse Flies)
Tribe Tabanini
Genus Tabanus
Species atratus (Black Horse Fly)
Explanation of Names
Tabanus atratus Fabricius 1775
atratus 'clothed in black'(1)
20-28 mm (2) (3); 24 mm (4); (reference missing for earlier size range given here as 20-33 mm)
Adult black, including wings, or nearly black, brown-purple; larva whitish, banded with black, up to 50 mm(2)
se. Canada to FL-TX & n. Mexico(4); primarily eastern, although recorded throughout US (Long 2001)
Very wide range of habitats; generally near aquatic environments (Long 2001). Larvae live "along the margins of ponds and ditches"(5).
Life Cycle
Larvae require two years to complete life cycle(6)(2); adult males short-lived; females survive through fall(6). Eggs laid on vegetation overhanging permanent water(3)
prone to attack cattle and other livestock(2), rarely bites people. Can transmit diseases such as surra and anthrax and be a serious problem for livestock (Long 2001)
Internet References
Fact sheet (Long 2001)
Works Cited
1.Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms
Donald J. Borror. 1960. Mayfield Publishing Company.
2.The Common Insects of North America
Lester A. Swan, Charles S. Papp. 1972. Harper & Row.
3.National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects and Spiders & Related Species of North America
Arthur V. Evans. 2007. Sterling.
4.The horse and deer flies (Diptera: Tabanidae) of Texas
Goodwin and Drees. 1996. 1996. Southwestern Entomological Society.
5.Insects: Their Natural History And Diversity: With a Photographic Guide to Insects of Eastern North America
Stephen A. Marshall. 2006. Firefly Books Ltd.
6.National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Lorus and Margery Milne. 1980. Knopf.