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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

18 July, 2016

Chrysops viduatus: the square-spot deerfly

The square-spot deerfly (Chrysops viduatus) is a horsefly. That might seem like a contradiction of terms but let me explain. The familiar name of horsefly is given to the insect family with the scientific name of tabanidae and, in general, the female of this family of flies depend on acquiring blood from mammals to enable her eggs to develop. They mainly attack horses for this blood supply but Chrysops viduatus is an exception and attacks deer. So, this horsefly is a deerfly.
Horseflies are not usually known for their good looks but I think this particulat species, albeit a deerfly, is quite an attractive insect with striking colours and lovely blue eyes! Before you think I am nuts remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I happen to think there is beauty in many species that other people do not.
This species is widespread in south eastern England and can be found in meadows and woodlands where there are deer present. They are not common but can be frequent where a deer population exists. I believe any species of deer will do but I suspect roe deer are its main source of blood.
Chrysops viduatus: the square-spot deerfly