These are large flies which can give a painful bite. Adult horse flies feed on nectar and sometimes pollen but females require a blood meal for reproduction. Males lack the necessary mouth parts for blood feeding. Most female horse flies feed on mammal blood, but some species are known to feed on birds, amphibians or reptiles. Unlike insects which surreptitiously puncture the skin with needle-like organs, horse flies have tiny, serrated mandibles which they use to rip and/or slice flesh apart.
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Flies, Gnats and Midges
True flies (order Diptera) are an immense group with over 100,000 known species. They all have their hind pair of wings reduced to pin-shaped structures called halteres which act as gyroscopes to maintain balance in flight. Most feed on liquids, including nectar and blood.