Pain on wings

She is a life drinker, armed such that she can pierce the toughest hides to reach that which she requires: mammalian blood.

A Female black horse fly (a.k.a. mourning horse-fly; Tabanus atratus) perched on a rusty pole (20120926_04497)

At over an inch long (nearly 30 mm), she is the scourge of Mutt and General, our donkey and horse respectively, not to mention of our herd of cows and our dogs and our cats and even us if the mood strikes her.

A female black horse fly (a.k.a. mourning horse-fly; Tabanus atratus) perched on a rusty pole (20120926_04500)

Her name—atratus—is Latin and means “clothed in black,” a moniker which suits her with dark accuracy, though “pain on wings” would likewise describe her.

A female black horse fly (a.k.a. mourning horse-fly; Tabanus atratus) perched on a rusty pole (20120926_04505)

While she haunts the Piney Woods with many cousins, she represents the most obvious species, seen too often, felt too frequently, heard only when the threat looms imminent.

A female black horse fly (a.k.a. mourning horse-fly; Tabanus atratus) perched on a rusty pole (20120926_04509)

She is a life drinker, though she might also be called a pain giver, for to take what she needs she readily inflicts a most memorable bite.

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All photos of a female black horse fly (a.k.a. mourning horse-fly; Tabanus atratus) perched on a rusty pole.

2 thoughts on “Pain on wings”

  1. Great images, Jason (as always). The third image makes her look a little like Darth Vader. I was bicycling alongside a canal here in Pennsylvania yesterday and was surprised three times by hot, stinging bites by flies–in October! Frost can’t come soon enough!

    1. Thanks, Scott! And I totally agree about the Darth Vader comparison.

      Wow! I’m surprised in PA that biting flies are still out and about. Down here in TX that wouldn’t surprise anyone, but up there I’d expect–or at least hope–that it would cool off sooner. You’re so right: Come on first freeze!

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