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The Pest

The Pest
Photo Information
Copyright: Japie Venter (japie) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1814 W: 100 N: 1904] (5187)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2004-10-10
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 300D, Tamron 28-300XR, Skylight
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/60 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Flies - Moscas - Mouches, Insects and Spiders of Southern Africa [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2004-10-11 4:22
Viewed: 4759
Points: 20
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
While working on top of a 8 foot ladder I noticed this fly on the power cable of my electric drill. This guy had attitude and I managed to secure my drill to the ladder without him taking off. I climbed down, went to fetch my camera, climbed back up, and guess what? He was still there!

Here is some more info on this pest known as the Stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans)


The genus Stomoxys is believed to have originated in Africa. Stomoxys calcitrans, a common pest of confined cattle, is distributed worldwide.


Adults average 8 mm long, about the size of a house fly, and are the stage most frequently encountered. They are gray in colour, with 4 longitudinal dark stripes on the thorax and several dark spots on the top of the abdomen. The wings are held partially open at rest, forming a V-shape.

The mouthparts are visibly extended forwards from the head as a long, slender, piercing proboscis. The palps are short, less than 1/3 the length of the proboscis

Biology and Behaviour:

Stable flies are significant pests in confined cattle rearing facilities, and also in recreational areas. Flies will live in any habitat that has a source of breeding material for the larvae and resting areas for the adults. Hosts of these blood-feeding flies include cattle, horses, people, dogs and swine. Cattle, horses, and people are typically bitten on the legs; dogs and swine are generally bitten on the ears.

Both sexes feed on blood, and the bites are extremely painful and cause severe irritation. Livestock react by twitching, stamping their feet, and flicking their tails.

This disturbs the fly during feeding, causing it to take flight. It will then return to resume feeding. As a result, the flies make numerous visits to the host, with repeated bites to obtain a full blood meal.

After feeding, the adult flies will rest in protected areas on nearby vertical surfaces such as vegetation, fences, feedbunks, or on the sides of buildings.

Female stable flies lay eggs on moist, decaying organic matter. About 60 - 120 eggs are laid at a time with some flies surviving to lay two or more batches of eggs. Eggs hatch in less than 24 hours to produce larvae (maggots) that feed and grow beneath the surface of the breeding material.

Breeding sites include rotting straw or straw hay, wet and decaying spilled grain, fermenting piles of vegetation (such as weed or grass cuttings), silage, and manure in mounds and the general lot.

Larvae pass through three instars in 1 - 2 weeks then change into pupae. After about 1 -2 weeks, the adult fly emerges from the pupa to begin the next generation.

The duration of the entire life cycle from egg to egg-laying adult is generally about 3 - 5 weeks, with several generations each year. Stable flies have 3 generations per year.

gerhardt, RAP, PDP, ellis49, Crypton, TAZ, Callie, extramundi, Lourens, Luc has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To PDP: The Sucking varietyjapie 3 10-11 17:08
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Critiques [Translate]

Everything is really nice and sharp and the colors are great. Only thing for me is that I find it a little overexposed and bright. Difficult to control in such a case though. Good shot.

WOW! Japie, the details are very nicely shown of this fly. There are some hot spots of overexposure but not much. The details are great where it counts. Did you try to diffuse the flash? Ace note! TFS.

  • Great 
  • RAP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2524 W: 345 N: 2373] (7405)
  • [2004-10-11 8:43]

Coincido parcialmente con la opinion de Darren en cuanto a la sobre exposicion.
El detalle de las alas, los pelos y los ojos es realmente excelente.
Bien hecho Japie.

I agree partially with opinion of Darren as far as overexpose.
The detail of the wings, the hairs and the eyes are really excellent.
Well done Japie.

  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2004-10-11 8:44]
  • [+]

Nice work Japie, it's an orginal looking shot. The photo is quite bright but it has a good feel. I'm worried about the ID description though. The mouthparts in the pictured fly look more like the sucking variety.

Nice macro Japie.
Little overexposure but it is stilla good macro.
Good colours and nice details.
Great note.

This is a good shot of this fly. The brightness on the pipe is the only thing that distracts me

jolie composition avec cette mouche de couleur alu...sur une tige en alu !
vraiment un bon agencement des couleurs !

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2004-10-11 12:35]

Etonnant cet insecte, il semble métallique comme le tube qui le porte. Super note !
Well done !

  • Great 
  • Callie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1101 W: 95 N: 2610] (7555)
  • [2004-10-11 13:33]

MNR Brommer
Man, I am glad they are not this size, think of the mess they will make in your kitchen!
Beautiful eyes and the silevr and black on the body has always facinated me.
Stable fly, why, just call him the Cable Guy!

Although the quality is not your best, I think that the metalic fly on the metalic bar is very artistic. The calibration numbers are fantastic. Great composition.

Very nice capture, Japie. Nice, sharp macro.

Calibration Check