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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Mosquito and Fly Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317723

Research Project: Management of Filth Flies

Location: Mosquito and Fly Research

Title: Blood feeding behavior of the stable fly

item Hogsette, Jerome - Jerry

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/28/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Stable fly is a fly that looks similar to a house fly but both sexes are blood feeders. Blood is required for successful fertilization and development of eggs. Bites are painful but there is usually no pain after the fly stops feeding. The stable fly is a persistent feeder and will continue trying to feed until it reaches its capacity. Taxonomy – Stable fly adults have 4 black stripes on the pronotum, with only a slight curve in the M. 1 + 2 vein, and a piercing-sucking proboscis. Adults tend to rest on surfaces with the head higher than the abdomen. Origin - The genus Stomoxys is African in origin and only Stomoxys calcitrans is found worldwide. A few other species have been found outside of Africa, but they are not found worldwide. One of those is S. sitiens, which we collected on a dairy farm in Shanghai in 1993. Hosts – Hosts used by stable flies vary with geographic location, and many host lists can be found in the literature. Typically stable flies feed on ungulates and equids, wild or domestic, however they will feed on many other small or large warm-blooded animals. Blood Feeding Behavior Feeding location on the host - Stable flies typically feed on the lower front legs of hosts. This includes humans. Animals typically stomp their front legs as a fly avoidance behavior. On canids and felids, stable flies feed on the ears where the hair is thin. Stable fly feeding can result in bleeding and open lesions on the ears, and can result in disfigurement of the ears. When cattle or other animals are kept in a pasture, stable flies do not follow the animals around the pasture. They wait for them at locations the animals regularly visit, like where they get water. When animals are kept in confinement barns, stable flies are most active around the edge of the barns. Flies feed on the animals then rest near the edge of the barn or outside. Feeding times - Stable flies tend to feed early in the mornings and late in the afternoons. Feeding activity decreases during the hours just before and just after noon. Feeding behavior on the host - Stable flies in typical feeding locations on a host are usually taking blood. When feeding has been completed, stable flies do not usually remain on the host. However, this is not always true, and stable flies can be seen resting on the body of a host before or after feeding. The reason for this behavior is unknown. Nectar Feeding Behavior - Stable flies will feed on nectar when host animals are not available or when energy is needed for flight.