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Species Tabanus sulcifrons

Horse Fly - Tabanus sulcifrons - female Horse Fly - Tabanus sulcifrons - female Horse fly on front stoop - Tabanus sulcifrons - female Horse fly - Tabanus sulcifrons - female Tabanus? - Tabanus sulcifrons - female Tabanus - Tabanus sulcifrons - male Tabanus sp.? - Tabanus sulcifrons Tabanus sulcifrons
Classification
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 sulcifrons (Tabanus sulcifrons)
Identification
Tabanus sulcifrons Macquart 1855
Remarks
Since its description by Fabricius in 1805, specimens of T abdominalis have proved difficult to identify due mainly to the variation between individuals and the similarity to other variable species particularly T. limbatinevris and T. sulcifrons but including T. gladiator and T. nefarius. Osten Sacken (1876) was aware of the difficulty of delimiting the variation of T. abdominalis. He described the species from 3 females "which I take to be nearest to the original type of Fabricius's description." He then described different forms from 14 females "which may be either mere varieties or distinct species." However, in 1878, Osten Sacken re-described T. abdominalis from 19 females from Kentucky and Georgia, stating that "As my description of T. abdominalis was principally based on a small and very abnormally colored specimen, I prefer to give a description of both species." The 2nd species he refers to was thought by him to be Tabanus sulcifrons. Pechuman et al (1983) believe Osten Sacken's earlier (1876) description was actually based on a specimen of T. limbatinevris and not T. sulcifrons. Jumping ahead to 1990, Hoppe et al. (1990) proved the distinctiveness of T. abdominalis, T. limbatinervis, and T. sulcifrons based on an analysis of cuticular hydrocarbons (Internet ref below). At the present time it is probably impossible to separate these 3 species based solely on photographs. Museum specimens stand a good chance of being identified based on measurements of the ratio of length of the frons divided by its length, the condition of the 5th posterior cell in the wing, and the length:width ratio of the palps(1)
Print References
Burger J.F. (1980) Redescription and lectotype designation of Tabanus sulcifrons Macquart (Diptera: Tabanidae), and comparison to related taxa. Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 82(4): 660-667.
Internet References
The face views of the females from GA and IL make me wonder whether they are the same species. The GA female (#1465004) has long black palps, whereas the IL female has stout pale palps. The colour and shape of the palps are a useful species character in tabanids and vary little within a species.
Works Cited
1.The Diptera, or true flies, of Illinois I. Tabanidae
Pechuman, L.L., D.W. Webb, & H.J. Teskey. 1983. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 33: 1-121.