While on the Losee Lake Trail at Pinckney State Recreation Area in Michigan, this deer fly (Diptera: Tabanidae: Chrysops sp.) landed on my arm. Sensing the opportunity to get some cool photos, I pointed my camera at her just as she plunged her mouthparts into my skin. It hurt a bit but I tolerated it long enough to take these pictures.
These flies are common pests of livestock and people. If you’ve spent much time outdoors you’ve probably had to fight them off from time to time.
Only female tabanids feed on blood, which they use to fuel egg production. Males are content with pollen and nectar. Females lay their eggs near water, and are therefore found most often near marshes, lakes, and streams (Triplehorn and Johnson 2005). They do get around a bit, however, and can be found away from water as well. They’re powerful fliers and some species can fly for several miles (Triplehorn and Johnson 2005).
Triplehorn, C.A. and N.F. Johnson. 2005. Borror and DeLong’s Introduction to the Study of Insects. Seventh Edition. Thomson Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA.