Stomoxys calcitrans

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Stomoxys calcitrans (click on image to enlarge it)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Stomoxys calcitrans (Linnaeus, 1758) - (stable fly)

The species is a blood-feeding fly with a worldwide distribution, biting domestic animals and humans. In cattle, the stress and resulting avoidance behaviour results in reduced weight gain or milk production. The economic impact in the U.S.A. has been estimated at more than US$ 2 billion (Taylor et al., 2012). Further it is able to transmit various bacterial and viral diseases.

The flies prefer a warm environment and are common in stables. They bite during the day only and a blood meal lasts around 5 minutes. The female needs to feed at least 3 times before it can lay eggs. It breeds in animal dung, in wasted hay mixed with manure or in other decomposing plant material mixed with animal feces and urine. The development from egg to adult lasts 2 to 6 weeks, depending on the temperature.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Wadenstecher
• English: stable fly
biting house fly
• Français: mouche des étables
mouche piquante des étables

Control in stables involves sanitation, trapping and pesticide applications. However, control is difficult because the flies spend only a brief time on their hosts and can disperse long distances.

The adult is 6-7 mm long, grey to light grey with a forward pointed proboscis. The thorax has 4 darker longitudinal lines, the hind margins of the 2nd and 3rd abdominal segments have several dark spots. Compared to the horn fly (another important blood-sucking livestock pest), S. calcitrans is larger, has shorter maxillary palpi and a clear black/grey pattern on the dorsal side of the abdomen.