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Most adult "horseflies" are bloodsuckers, and the larvae are mostly aquatic or semiaquatic, feeding on various kinds of animals occurring in the medium in which they develop. One preferred food are Tipulidae larvae and other groups inhabiting the banks of ponds and streams. Earthworms and snails are also attacked. Tabanus stigma F. is known to develop in drying seaweed in Puerto Rico, the larvae feeding on sand fly larvae. Davis (1919) recorded several species of Tabanus as predaceous on Scarabaeidae grubs. The eggs of most species are laid in large masses on foliage overhanging water or on stones or other nearby objects. With some species they are found in a single compact layer, the eggs placed vertically, side by side; while in others they are several layers deep (Clausen 1940/62)
Calliphoridae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- The blowflies, bluebottle flies and screwworm flies are flesh feeders. They lay masses of eggs in dead animal carcasses. The presence of these flies is indicative of a dead animal.
Screwworm flies are attracted to wounds and some species are parasitic and able to penetrate living flesh. They are especially prevalent in southeastern North America. Females lay their eggs in wounds and the larvae invade surrounding tissue. They are especially serious pests of sheep.
Screwworms were periodically effectively reduced in number by the liberation of males that have been sterilized with radioactive cobalt. The females, which copulate just once, cannot produce progeny if their mate is a sterilized male. The flies were even completely eradicated from one island by the deployment of this technique.
Medication of wounds on animals is effective in control, but it is necessary to be on continuous alert for new wounds.
Wool maggots are attracted to soggy and wet wool, especially around the rump area. Precautionary control measures involve clipping the wool.
The maggots of some screwworm species are able to clean-up dead flesh from wounds and thereby cause rapid healing, especially for very deep wounds.
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