Tabanus spp

From Cow
Adult Tabanus horse fly
Adult Tabanus spp horse fly on the teat of a cow

Tabanus spp are an haematophagous parasitic horse fly found on cattle worldwide.

As well as causing 'worry' to cattle, Tabanus also act as vectors for haemoplasmas such as Mycoplasma wenyonii, 'Candidatus M. haemobos, Anaplasma spp and Trypanosoma spp[1].

Species which are known to be pathogenic to cattle include:

  • Tabanus bovinus
  • Tabanus bromius[2]
  • Tabanus fuscicostatus[3]

Treatment is aimed at reducing exposure of cattle to the flies. This can be difficult as most Tabanus are resistant to insecticides.

Fipronil and fenvalerate pour-ons have proven effective[4].


  1. Tadesse A & Tsegaye B (2010) Bovine trypanosomosis and its vectors in two districts of Bench Maji zone, South Western Ethiopia. Trop Anim Health Prod 42(8):1757-1762
  2. Hornok S et al (2011) Molecular investigation of transplacental and vector-borne transmission of bovine haemoplasmas. Vet Microbiol 152(3-4):411-414
  3. Scoles GA et al (2008) Comparison of the efficiency of biological transmission of Anaplasma marginale (Rickettsiales: Anaplasmataceae) by Dermacentor andersoni Stiles (Acari: Ixodidae) with mechanical transmission by the horse fly, Tabanus fuscicostatus Hine (Diptera: Muscidae). J Med Entomol 45(1):109-114
  4. Foil LD et al (1991) Survival and dispersal of horse flies (Diptera: Tabanidae) feeding on cattle sprayed with a sublethal dose of fenvalerate. J Med Entomol 28(5):663-667