Tabanus subsimilis



This brown horse fly is approximately 1/2 inch in length.  It is light brown overall with whitish stripes on the abdomen and thorax.  The thorax is covered in thick, short brown hair.  Legs are two-toned light with dark tibia and tarsi.  The male, shown in Photo A has very large eyes that touch at the top of the head.  The female, shown in photos B, C, D and E, have colorful eyes that don't touch at the top of the head.  Only the females in this family bite.  This fly is part of a complex of very similar species.  One of the identifying characteristics of T. subsimilis is the slightly irregular margins of the stripe on top of the abdomen and the pale thorax.  The fly in Photo A was identified by experts at the BugGuide website.


This horse fly is considered common in Fontenelle Forest and Neale Woods.The females were photographed in May, June and July and the males were photographed in June and September.


Tabanid flies, typically, lay eggs on vegetation overhanging water or wet soil.  The larvae are entirely predacious, and often cannibalistic, and have mandibles that work parallel to one another in the vertical plane like fangs.

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Male Tabanus subsimilis

Male Tabanus subsimilis

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