Splayed deer fly Chrysops caecutiens, copyright Hectonichus.

Belongs within: Tabanomorpha.
Contains: Diachlorini, Tabanini, Pangoniini, Scionini, Bouvieromyiini.

The Tabanidae, horse flies, are a group of medium-sized to large flies, females of which commonly feed on vertebrate blood. Males and females of this family are readily distinguished by the eyes being holoptic in males but distinctly separated in females.

Characters (from Pechuman & Teskey 1981): Moderate to large flies, 6-30 mm long, without bristles. Head large; eyes large, often brightly patterned, holoptic in male, separated by frons in female. Antenna porrect and composed of scape, pedicel, and flagellum; flagellum usually consisting of a larger basal portion and terminal annulations usually numbering four to eight but sometimes as few as two. Palpus composed of two segments; basal palpal segment usually rather small; other palpal segment usually rather long and curved downward in female, often inflated near base. Proboscis stout and rigid; mandible and maxilla of female often styliform and adapted for piercing, sometimes absent in species that are not bloodsuckers. Thorax large; notopleural lobe prominent; scutellum without spines or macrotrichia. Legs rather stout; apical spurs present on mid tibia, absent on fore tibia, present or absent on hind tibia; tarsi each with three pads formed by pulvilliform empodium located between two pulvilli. Wing venation with as many as 11 veins reaching margin (Sc, four branches of R, three branches of M, CuA1, CuA2, A1), C extending around wing, cells br, bm, and d conspicuous, and cell cup usually closed near wing margin; calypter large. Abdomen broad, with seven segments usually visible; terminalia of both sexes usually inconspicuous; male with gonocoxites fused with sternite 9, with gonostylus single or partially divided, aedeagus and associated pair of slender filamentous recurved aedeagal tines enclosed in a sheath apparently derived from parameres, tergite 9 entire or divided, tergite l0 absent, cercus flattened, round to oval or somewhat pointed; female usually with tergite l0 divided, with sternite 8 shield-shaped, and with cercus one-segmented. Larva fusiform or more or less expanded posteriorly or anteriorly, comprising 11 body segments and completely retractile head capsule; head capsule elongate, subcylindrical, tapering anteriorly, features including semitubular cranium, paired tentorial arms attached anteriorly to inner dorsal surfaces of cranium and appearing to be free posteriorly, three-segmented antennae, median down-curved labrum, mandibular-maxillary sclerites including maxillary palpi, and labium closing head capsule ventrally; mandibles each with central canal for excretion of paralytic enzyme, linked with subdorsal brushes of spines that are erected to anchor head within host when mandibles strike downward; body without projecting appendages on thoracic segments, with annular rings of small tubercles and crenulate frills or with prolegs on abdominal segments; respiratory system functionally metapneustic.

<==Tabanidae B09
|  i. s.: Japenoides BLM02
|         Mesopangonius RL09
|         Pangonia A71
|           |–P. lasiophtalma Boisduval 1835 B35
|           `–P. longirostris A71
|–Scepsidinae [Scepsidini] M54
|    |–Adersia oestroides M54
|    |–Scepsis nivalis M54
|    |–Braunsiomyia M54
|    `–Lesneus M54
|–Tabaninae PT81
|    |–Diachlorini PT81
|    |–Tabanini PT81
|    `–Haematopotini PT81
|         |–Heptatoma M54
|         |–Hippocentrum M54
|         `–Haematopota PT81
|              |–H. americana PT81
|              `–H. pluvialis WT11
|–Pangoniinae PT81
|    |  i. s.: Palaepangonius GE05
|    |         Eopangonius GE05
|    |         Scaptiella aperta M54
|    |–Pangoniini PT81
|    |–Scionini PT81
|    `–Philolichini M54
|         |–Philoliche M54
|         |–Ommatiosteres M54
|         |–Metaphara M54
|         |–Nuceria M54
|         |–Stenophara M54
|         |–Dorcaloemus compactus M54
|         |–Phara M54
|         |–Subpangonia M54
|         `–Buplex M54
|              |–B. albifacies M54
|              `–B. suavus M54
`–Chrysopsinae PT81
|–Bouvieromyiini PT81
|–Rhinomyzini M54
|    |–Tabanocella denticornis M54
|    |–Orgizomyia M54
|    |–Thriambeutes M54
|    |–Sphecodemyia M54
|    |–Gastroxides ater M54
|    |–Rhinomyza M54
|    |–Thaumastocera M54
|    `–Guyona M54
`–Chrysopsini PT81
|–Nemorius M54
|–Melissomorpha indiana M54
|–Neochrysops globosus PT81
|–Silvius PT81
|    |  i. s.: S. vituli M54
|    |–S. (Assipala) ceras PT81
|    |–S. (Griseosilvius) B09
|    |    |–S. (G.) atitlanensis B09
|    |    `–S. (G.) quadrivittatus PT81
|    `–S. (Zeuximyia) philipi PT81
`–Chrysops B09
|–C. caecutiens M54
|–C. cincticornis PT81
|–C. dimidiata A71
|–C. discalis A71
|–C. excitans PT81
|–C. furcatus PT81
|–C. (Liochrysops) hyalinus PT81
|–C. marmoratus K01
|–C. pikei PT81
|–C. scalaratus B09
`–C. silacea A71

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A71] Askew, R. R. 1971. Parasitic Insects. Heinemann Educational Books: London.

[BLM02] Blagoderov, V. A., E. D. Lukashevich & M. B. Mostovski. 2002. Order Diptera Linné, 1758. The true flies (=Muscida Laicharting, 1781). In: Rasnitsyn, A. P., & D. L. J. Quicke (eds) History of Insects pp. 227–240. Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht.

[B35] Boisduval, J. B. 1835. Voyage de Découvertes de l’Astrolabe. Exécuté par ordre du Roi, pendant les années 1826–1827–1828–1829, sous le commandement de M. J. Dumont d’Urville. Faune entomologique de l’océan Pacifique, avec l’illustration des insectes nouveaux recueillis pendant le voyage vol. 2. Coléoptères et autres ordres. J. Tastu: Paris.

[B09] Burger, J. F. 2009. Tabanidae (horse flies, deer flies, tabanos). In: Brown, B. V., A. Borkent, J. M. Cumming, D. M. Wood, N. E. Woodley & M. A. Zumbado (eds) Manual of Central American Diptera vol. 1 pp. 495–507. NRC Research Press: Ottawa.

[GE05] Grimaldi, D., & M. S. Engel. 2005. Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press: New York.

[K01] Kertész, K. 1901. Legyek [Dipteren]. In: Horváth, G. (ed.) Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazása [Dritte Asiatische Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] vol. 2. Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazásának Állattani Eredményei [Zoologische Ergebnisse der Dritten Asiatischen Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] pp. 179–201. Victor Hornyánszky: Budapest, and Karl W. Hierseman: Leipzig.

[M54] Mackerras, I. M. 1954. The classification and distribution of Tabanidae (Diptera). I. General review. Australian Journal of Zoology 2 (3): 431–454.

[PT81] Pechuman, L. L., & H. J. Teskey. 1981. Tabanidae. In: McAlpine, J. F., B. V. Peterson, G. E. Shewell, H. J. Teskey, J. R. Vockeroth & D. S. Wood (eds) Manual of Nearctic Diptera vol. 1 pp. 463–478. Research Branch, Agriculture Canada.

[RL09] Ren, D., C. C. Labandeira, J. A. Santiago-Blay, A. Rasnitsyn, C. Shih, A. Bashkuev, M. A. V. Logan, C. L. Hotton & D. Dilcher. 2009. A probable pollination mode before angiosperms: Eurasian, long-proboscid scorpionflies. Science 326: 840–847.

[WT11] Wiegmann, B. M., M. D. Trautwein, I. S. Winkler, N. B. Barr, J.-W. Kim, C. Lambkin, M. A. Bertone, B. K. Cassel, K. M. Bayless, A. M. Heimberg, B. M. Wheeler, K. J. Peterson, T. Pape, B. J. Sinclair, J. H. Skevington, V. Blagoderov, J. Caravas, S. N. Kutty, U. Schmidt-Ott, G. E. Kampmeier, F. C. Thompson, D. A. Grimaldi, A. T. Beckenbach, G. W. Courtney, M. Friedrich, R. Meier & D. K. Yeates. 2011. Episodic radiations in the fly tree of life. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 108 (14): 5690–5695.

Last updated: 13 May 2018.

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