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1 June 2015 An Annotated Checklist of the Horse Flies, Deer Flies, and Yellow Flies (Diptera: Tabanidae) of Florida
Catherine M. Zettel Nalen, Daniel L. Kline, Bruce D. Sutton, Günter Müller, James E. Cilek
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The last compilation of the Tabanidae of Florida was published in 1964 by Calvin Jones & Darrell Anthony. Since then, several taxonomic and distributional changes have been made, as well as the addition of several state locality records. We have compiled a list of Tabanidae species currently present in the state of Florida, or potentially present in Florida based on surrounding state records, using literature surveys and personal examinations of the collections at the Florida State Collection of Arthropods, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Currently, 124 species/subspecies are recorded from Florida, with an additional 15 species with likely Florida distributions from 15 different genera. In contrast, Jones & Anthony (1964) recognized 118 species among 14 genera. Although the number of species is not vastly different, much taxonomic revision has been done to the Florida Tabanidae. Three new Florida records are presented for Tabanus reinwardtii Weidemann, 1828, Chlorotabanus mexicanus (L.,1758), and Tabanus yucatanus Townsend, 1897.

The family Tabanidae includes horse flies, deer flies, and yellow flies, which are considered significant pests of livestock in the United States (Hansens 1979; Goodwin et al. 1985). Most females require a blood meal for egg production, although autogeny has been documented in several species (Rockel 1969; Anderson 1971; Burger & Lake 1980). In Florida, there is 1 known species, Asaphomyia floridensis Pechuman, that does not feed on blood at all (Pechuman 1974), and the reduced mouthparts of the genus Merycomyia suggest that this genus also is not hematophagous although data on feeding habits and behavior is still lacking (Jones & Anthony 1964). Anautogenous tabanid females ingest blood by lacerating the skin with serrated mouthparts and lapping up the pooled blood, which can cause significant irritation to the host. Several commercial adult tabanid traps are available along with blueprints for homemade traps on the internet, though studies focusing on population reduction in the environment are lacking.

Eggs are laid in a variety of habitats, often on vegetation along the perimeter of permanent or temporary bodies of water (Jones & Anthony 1964). Most Tabanidae are thought of as having aquatic larval stages, with larvae inhabiting moist or saturated soils around lakes, streams, ponds, and even roadside ditches; however, Wilson (1969) collected several larval specimens of serious pest species from the soil and debris of mostly dry hardwood hammocks in an alluvial forest in Louisiana. The larval and pupal ecology of many species is still unknown, perhaps due to a sampling bias towards aquatic environments. Many larvae are predacious, feeding on macroinvertebrates in the environment. Larval and pupal descriptions, habitats, and life histories are still undocumented for several tabanid species. Life cycles can range from a few weeks to several years (Jones & Anthony 1964). Larval control methods have been attempted such as water impoundment and chemical controls with mediocre results (Anderson & Kneen 1969; Anderson 1985). Long-term control is difficult to achieve due to ecological patchiness of larval habitats, large population numbers, varying life histories, different seasonal distributions, and extensive life cycles.

Tabanids can easily become a major pest of man, especially salt marsh species that are known to readily feed on humans and often inhabit coastal tourist areas, golf courses, campgrounds, etc. (Hansens 1979). In extreme cases, tabanid infestations can cause a decrease in property values (Gerhardt et al. 1973). Tabanids are known to be mechanical vectors of several animal diseases such as equine infectious anemia virus, bovine leukemia virus, hog cholera virus, anaplasmosis, anthrax, tularemia, and several other serious diseases of veterinary concern (Krinsky 1976; Foil 1989). Perhaps even more significant than livestock pathogen transmission are the economic losses farmers experience during large tabanid infestations. Laceration of the skin by feeding females causes significant irritation to the host. Many livestock hosts respond with an attempt to dislodge the flies, but tabanids are persistent biters and will relocate until fully engorged (Foil 1983). During heavy infestations, livestock may decrease grazing and lose body weight due to the amount of time spent trying to dislodge the flies (Perich et al. 1986), which can also decrease milk production (Hansens 1979). Cattle that have been fed on by 66 to 90 horse flies per day may suffer from decreased feeding efficiency by up to 16.9% (Perich et al. 1986). Further studies on economic and veterinary impacts of tabanid feeding are still needed. In order to proceed with veterinary, ecological, and economic studies of the Tabanidae in Florida, we have developed a taxonomically organized and up-to-date record of species for the state. Currently, we have identified 124 species/subspecies documented from Florida, with an additional 15 possible species, representing 15 genera. In comparison, 138 species have been recorded from Georgia at the time of Burger's (1995) catalog. Sampling in Alabama has not extensively been undertaken, but it is likely that species numbers are similar to neighboring Georgia and Florida.

Materials and Methods

The last complete compilation of the Tabanidae of Florida was conducted in 1964 by Calvin Jones and Darrell Anthony (Jones & Anthony 1964). Since then, several taxonomic and distributional changes have been made by various authors. The included annotations following species names are those records that have been published since Jones and Anthony's 1964 publication or personal notes. If no annotations are present after a species name, no records have been updated since 1964. For annotations prior to 1964, see Jones & Anthony (1964) and Bargren (1961).

Nomenclature for our list follows that of Burger (1995). Burger (1995) noted that many species had designated variations or subspecies based solely on color. After studying several of these species, he determined that southern specimens often exhibited a melanistic variation (with intermediates) of the color form fairly consistently, and therefore determined that these are not varieties or subspecies but simply melanistic forms of the corresponding northern species.

Following Fairchild & French (1999), we have included 15 species (in parentheses) that have distribution records in surrounding states but no official records from Florida. It is possible, based on habitats and distribution, that these species are prese