The stable fly, Stomoxys calcitrans (L.), is a cosmopolitan species of blood-feeding Muscidae and an important pest of cattle. Although the cattle industry is the largest commodity in Montana, no research has been conducted on the abundance, distribution, or impact of stable flies in the state. Observations of stable flies attacking West Nile virus (family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus, WNV) -infected pelicans on a refuge in close proximity to pastured and confined cattle provided an opportunity to describe stable fly phenology in a mixed agricultural-wildlife ecosystem. Coroplast cards used to monitor and compare adult populations in three habitats (peninsula, pasture, confinement lot) located within 1.5–4.5 km of each other revealed that temporal dynamics differed by site. Adult abundance was generally lowest at the confinement lot, the only location where larval development was identified. Stable flies were collected on all traps placed in pasture, with traps adjacent to pastured cattle consistently collecting the most. Adults also were collected on the peninsula supporting the pelicans' nesting site, but whether the potential hosts or physical landscape served as an attractant is unclear. At all three sites, data indicated that overwintering was not successful and that a transition occurred from early season immigrating adults that used suitable local larval development substrates to subsequent autochthonous populations.
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Vol. 42 • No. 1