Tabanus bovinus
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Family: Tabanidae
Subfamily: Tabaninae
Tribe: Tabanini
Genus: Tabanus
T. bovinus
Binomial name
Tabanus bovinus
  • Tabanus auratus Ghidini, 1935

Tabanus bovinus, sometimes called the pale giant horse-fly, is a species of biting horse-fly.[2] As the scientific name suggests, it prefers bovine animals as the source of blood, although it may bite other kind of mammals as well. The insect is relatively large for a horse-fly, adults usually being 25–30 mm long. Like most other horseflies, its compound eyes are very colorful with stripe-like patterns. Its body and wings are mostly colored brownish gray. It is quite fast and an able flier, being capable of evading most attempts to swat it with ease. It bites humans infrequently, because of its preference of bovine animals. This loud-buzzing horse-fly can be a nuisance, as it circles around its target and occasionally lands to deliver a bite (in the case of humans, the fly usually takes off again instead). However, to humans it is considerably less harmful than deer flies (Chrysops), which bite much more vigorously.

There are no commercially available insect repellents that fully work against this horse-fly, however it usually avoids smoke and exhaust gases. Weather has a great effect on the horse-flies' behavior, as they only fly on sunny and hot weather.

Like all horse-fly species, it is only the females that require a blood meal, this is in order to provide sufficient protein to produce eggs. Males do not bite and tend to prefer the cover of woodland, where they are territorial.[3]


  1. ^ Linnaeus, C. (1758). Systema naturae... Ed. 10, Vol. 1. Holmiae [= Stockholm]: L. Salvii. pp. 824 pp. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
  2. ^ Chvála, Milan; Lyneborg, Leif; Moucha, Josef (1972). The Horse Flies of Europe (Diptera, Tabanidae). Copenhagen: Entomological Society of Copenhagen. pp. 598pp, 164figs. ISBN 978-09-00-84857-5.
  3. ^ Stubbs, A. & Drake, M. (2001). British Soldierflies and Their Allies: A Field Guide to the Larger British Brachycera. British Entomological & Natural History Society. p. 512 pp. ISBN 1-899935-04-5.