Reddish Vale Country Park
There are approximately 3,000 species of horse flies known worldwide.
Although the male horse fly is a nectar feeder, the female horse fly can give a painful bite with their sharp, piercing mouthparts. The bite leaves a triangular hole in the skin and can cause a large swelling. You usually only notice horse flies after they have bitten you, the bite can be painful. Unlike insects which surreptitiously puncture the skin with needle-like organs, horse flies have tiny, serrated mandibles which they use to rip and/or slice flesh apart.
The horsefly's modus operandi is less secretive than that of its mosquito counterparts, although it still aims to escape before pain signals reach their mark's sphere of awareness. Moreover, the pain of a horsefly bite may mean that the victim is more concerned with assessing the wound, and not swatting the interloper. The bites may become itchy, sometimes causing a large swelling afterward if not treated quickly.
Unlike mosquitoes, they make a much lower pitched humming noise when they fly, so you don't always hear them coming.
Their one redeeming characteristic is their amazing eyes, which feature bands of brilliant colours.
The maggot-like larvae of horse flies live in mud, feeding on decaying vegetable matter or small creatures (depending on the species).
All images, copyright, Stockport Nature.Com
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