<< Previous Next >>

Uninvited Guest

Uninvited Guest
Photo Information
Copyright: Grzegorz Wieczorek (red45) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-07-13
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 400D, Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG Macro, Kenko ext. tubes 12+20+36mm
Exposure: f/9.0, 1/125 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): 60-69 points (Chapter 3), 40 - 49 Points (Chapter 12), Best of Canon 400D, Dipterans (except Hover flies) of Europe-1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-07-13 12:45
Viewed: 6307
Favorites: 4 [view]
Points: 64
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Picture from todays morning walk. This is for sure biggest fly I've ever seen. It was just huge - about 2cm or bigger. I founded it laying eggs on reed in one of ponds in Botanic Garden. After checking photo on computer I founded second subject - tiny wasp or fly hidding between eggs. Maybe it was some kind of parasitic specie? Big fly is one of horse-flies, but I don't know which specie.

Insects in the order Diptera, family Tabanidae, are commonly called Horse flies or deer flies. Often considered pests for the bites that many inflict, they are among the world's largest true flies. They are also important pollinators of flowers, especially in South Africa. Tabanids occur worldwide, being absent only at extreme northern and southern latitudes. Flies of this type are among those known sometimes as gadflies, zimbs or clegs. In Australia, they are known as March flies.

There are approximately 3,000 species of horse flies known worldwide, 350 of which are found in North America. At least three subfamilies are recognised:

* Chrysopsinae
* Pangoniinae
* Tabaninae
* the genus Zophina is of uncertain placement, though it has been classified among the Pangoniinae.

Two well-known types are the common horse flies, genus Tabanus Linnaeus, 1758 and the deer flies, genus Chrysops Meigen, 1802 also known as banded horse flies because of their coloring. Both these genera give their names to subfamilies. The "Blue Tail Fly" in the eponymous song was probably a tabanid common to the southeastern United States.


Adult horse flies feed on nectar and sometimes pollen. Females require a blood meal for reproduction. Males lack the necessary mouth parts (mandibles) for blood feeding. Most female horse flies feed on mammal blood, but some species are known to feed on birds, amphibians or reptiles. Immature or larval horse flies are fossorial predators of other invertebrates in moist environments.


The females' primary sense for locating prey is sight, and they have large compound eyes that serve this purpose well. The flies usually lie waiting in shady areas for prey to happen by. They are attracted by motion, their eyes being well adapted to its detection. The eyes of horse flies are generally brightly colored, and this coloration is one of the means entomologists use to identify them to species, though the colors rarely persist after death. Sex in most species can be distinguished based on shape of the eyes relative to the frons. Male horse flies are usually holoptic, meaning that their eyes meet and take up the majority of the head. In females, the eyes are separated by a space called the frons.


The bite from a larger specimen is extremely painful, especially considering the light, agile, and airborne nature of the fly. Unlike insects which surreptitiously puncture the skin with needle-like organs, horse flies have mandibles like tiny serrated scimitars, which they use to rip and/or slice flesh apart. This causes the blood to seep out as the horsefly licks it up. They may even carve a chunk completely out of the victim, to be digested at leisure.

The horsefly's modus operandi is less secretive than that of its mosquito counterparts, although it still aims to escape before pain signals reach their mark's sphere of awareness. Moreover, the pain of a horsefly bite may mean that the victim is more concerned with assessing and repairing the wound, than finding and swatting the interloper.


Horse flies are most active in hot weather, mostly in summer and autumn during the daylight hours. Most species also prefer a wet environment, which makes it easier for them to breed. The female lays eggs on vegetation overhanging moist soil. The larvae hatch and drop onto the soil, where they feed on smaller organisms until pupation.


Aside from generalized predators such as birds, there are also specialist predators such as the Horse guard wasp, a type of Sand wasp that preferentially attacks horse flies.


Eggs are laid on stones close to water on plant stems or leaves until they hatch . On hatching, the larvae fall into water or moist earth, feeding voraciously on invertebrates, such as snails and earthworms, and small

Info from Wiki

Kaszek, extramundi, nglen, aes_thor, siggi, cataclysta, eruyanik, livios, marhowie, ramthakur, horia, liziafa, spalaxtr, robgra, SelenE, uleko, Argus, boreocypriensis, vral, peter_stoeckl, haraprasan, cedryk has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To cataclysta: Blonkowkared45 4 07-30 00:14
To Graal: Fleszred45 1 07-15 10:00
To Kaszek: Kenkored45 5 07-15 01:11
To ramthakur: Thanks!red45 2 07-14 03:47
To livios: 400Dred45 1 07-14 02:37
To horia: Tubesred45 1 07-14 02:34
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

Masakra :)
Widze, ze musze Ci juz zabrac te Kenko, bo za dobre foty robisz ;)
Zyleta. Troche tylko gory dalbym wiecej... ;)

Impressing document.
Crystal clear, elegant and beautiful presentation.
Even the tiny guest is really very well seen. My compliments.
2 Cm. are alot of mm... what a beast!
Best regards, MF.

Cześć Grzegorz,

to jest wyjątkowo udane zdjęcie, piekne kolory i niesamowita wręcz ostrość obrazu, sam obiekt raczej źle się kojarzy ale w makro wygląda całkiem okazale. Ciekawa skala porównawcza w postaci tej małej muszki. Gratuluję ujęcia


  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-07-13 13:05]

Hallo Grzegorz,
Makro pierwszej klasy.Doskonale kolory i wspaniale tlo.WSPANIALE.
Gratuluje Siggi

Czesc Grzesiu
Piekna zdjecie. Przede wszystkim perfekcyjna ostrosc, zwierzak az chce wyskoczyc z ekranu. A blonkowka tez odjazdowa Dawid i Goliat
Pozdrawiam serdecznie

Just wonderful both the subject and the quality! Framing and the frame you choose also great! Love those plain and light colooured bg! The quality is the same on the micro bonus also!
Keep it up!

  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2008-07-13 17:26]
  • [+]

Dear Grzegorz, amazing capture. Excellent lighting, pov and composition (any cropping?).

You've been using the 400D. Please, I'd like you to share your thoughts and feelings about it with me.



  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-07-14 0:47]
  • [+]

Hi Greg

You seem to be doing superb work now with your new gear and those extenssion tubes. Are they really easy to use?
Anyway, this is a splenid macro, with impressive details and textures on your subject(s).
The size of this big fly is well reflected from the comparison with the small one, while the diagonal compo makes a great presentation.
Very well exposed and saturated again, too.

Bravo and TFS

This image of a Fly is the zenith of perfection in nature photography, Greg.
I am sure the second subject seen just under the lower abdomen of the Fly was unintentional.
Did you use tripod for this capture?
I am asking this because I am emulating you these days.
Yesterday evening, I went out into the park with my camera mounted with Sigma 70-300mm. No extension tubes and no tripod.
While taking the picture of a strange insect with it, I suddenly felt the lens was damned too heavy for a hand-held macro.
So I made a mess.
It is not easy to emulate you because you set standards too high :)!!!
TFS and regards.

Hi Greg
A superb macro which I have added to my favourites. Awesome sharpness and I love the added bonus of the small fly in the picture. Good POV and DOF.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-07-14 3:58]

Hello Greg,
Very impressive macro. Amazing sharp details. Beautiful light and natural colours. The colours of the leaf and BG are fabulous. Great composition and POV. Very beautiful and perfect presentation.

  • Great 
  • cloud Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 497 W: 111 N: 1535] (9539)
  • [2008-07-14 4:08]

Super, super i nic wiecej.

Piękne czyste, ostre zdjęcie. Można pouczyć się anatomii tego robalka :)i na dodatek 2 w 1.
Podoba się pozdrawiam Małgosia

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-07-14 5:17]

Hello Greg, Beautiful shot with long document. Great presentation and lovely colors and lighting. Well done Ganesh

Cześć Grzegorz.
Co mogę napisać. Wielkie zdjęcie, no i ta muszka.
Pozdrawiam Robert.

Hi Grzegorz,
Incredible macro with fine details. It is so clear that I feel that I inpected it under stereomicrocope. TFS. Regards,

Excelente enfoque, luz y formato. Mucho realismo en la pose y sobre todo en los colores.
Saludos Grz.: Josep Ignasi Tejedor.

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-07-14 8:41]

Hi Greg,
It's a great macro! Focus,sharpness, clarity, details, composition and POV are very good. It has a 3d effect,looks so alive on my screen :o)
All the best,

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-07-14 9:34]

Hello Greg,
Wow, what a superb macro of this insect! The sharp details are most impressive and the light and colours very beautiful. The background is lovely too and the composition is excellent. How skilful and well-timed to capture this event!
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-07-14 10:15]

Hi Greg. This is by far the best picture you have taken with your new camera. first class detail and sharp focusing . The colours are so natural. excellent use of the light . We can see every hair on its body . with the bonus of the eggs and liitle fly. so very well done TFs. Interesting notes too.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-07-14 12:15]

Hello Greg,
You must be pleased with this macro: it is fantastic! The sharpness, details, POV, composition and lighting of this frame-filling Tabanus bovinus are first class and the small parasitic wasp at the pile of eggs that this horsefly has laid is a bonus!
TFS this superb contribution.

Cool shot Greg!
I suppose David & Goliath was out of the question? ;}
This looks like roughly the equivalent of a human being to a dinosaur..
Excellent work mf, everything looks very nice.

Hi Grzegorz
An amazing detailed macro with superb clarity my friend! Indeed, simply a glorious shot in all around. Your notes are also perfectly prepared. Tahanks for sharing this.
All the best!


  • Great 
  • vral Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 65 W: 1 N: 218] (1049)
  • [2008-07-15 4:56]

Hallo Grzegorz,

this is just awesome macro of Horse fly, so lively in front of the eyes. Before I could come out of that amazement there is another tiny subject near by puzzled me. To be treated as museum specimen. Great in all respects.

Thanks a lot for sharing

Hi Grzegorz,
spectacular document of this giant horse fly, its freshly laid eggs, and their probable miniature parasite. Outstanding precision, excellent composition.
Thank you! With best regards,

HI old friend,
I can see your more and more active these days and upload
very good pictures again.
This big fellow is sharp with good details, nice POV and very clear. You handled the tubes very good.
Well done, Greg.
My best to Joanna and Jr.

  • Great 
  • Graal Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 751 W: 31 N: 20] (5100)
  • [2008-07-15 9:04]
  • [+]

swietne makro, super powiekszenie a przy tym doskonala ostrosc. Dobry efekt uzycia tych nakladek na obiektyw. Temat wyczerpujaco opisany. Brawo!
P.S. Czy w uzyciu byl flesz?
Pozdr. Aleksander

Hi Greg,
A lovely capture of this giant horse fly along with its egg and the parasitic wasp. Superb sharp details and a lovely composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2008-07-17 18:49]

Love Live Kenko extension tubes. . .
Brilliant capture Greg - it's just too good for me - I need those Kenko tubes!!
Such excellent clarity, and even the little fly shows up well too. The colours and details are so good,
Well done MF

  • Great 
  • ddg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 867 W: 24 N: 1008] (5507)
  • [2008-07-20 4:15]

Bonjour Grzegorz, thank for your critique and kind words. Great lighting on this fly. Well caught too. Razor sharp details. Regards, Didier.

oh my god.. u r so lucky to have captured it! its a superb shot! the eggs are so well cluttered together, i see another fly or maybe a wasp in the egg clutter, is it parasitic? superb capture! personally, i hate horseflies, the bite is nasty! tfs!

  • cedryk Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 50 N: 1722] (5270)
  • [2009-07-29 10:19]

It's a fantastic capture documenting a very interesting biological phenomenon. You can see a tabanid fly laying eggs and a very small parasitoid wasp from superfamily Chalcidoidea that is just about to lay its own eggs withing eggs of the fly. Then the wasp larvae will hatch and eat the egg, remaining safe in its shell.
One of the best shots I've ever seen on TN!!!

amazing closeup, TFS Ori

Calibration Check