CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Striped Horse Fly (Tabanus lineola)
Tabanus is a species of biting flies. The females bite. This one is male, so isn’t of consequence, but I have found that crushing fresh SOUTHERN BAYBERRY; WAX MYRTLE (Myrica cerifera) leaves and rubbing them on your skin is an effective deterrent.
Don’t discount their value. They have their place in the circle of life, providing food for many, including chalid wasps, bee flies and tachinid flies that are important pollinators as well as birds.
“There are native beneficial insects that target tabanids. Eggs are parasitizied by such Hymenopteran families as Trichogrammatidae, Scelionidae, and Chalcididae. Diapriidae and Pteromalidae (Hymenoptera), and Bombyliidae and Tachinidae (Diptera) parasitize the larvae and pupa. Tabanid adults are used as provisions for nest building wasps. Cattle egrets and killdeer are also tabanid feeders.”
Shown on Florida Native Plant: PAINTEDLEAF; FIRE-ON-THE-MOUNTAIN (Poinsettia cyathophora)