Taxonomy 185 Morphology 186 Life History 188 Behavior And Ecology 189 Public Health Importance 191 Veterinary Importance 196 Prevention And Control 199 References And Further Reading 200

As small, powerful fliers adapted for blood feeding, black flies can be formidable pests of humans, domestic animals, and wildlife, impacting virtually all facets of outdoor life. They are distributed worldwide, with the exception of Antarctica and some oceanic islands. Their distribution is largely influenced by the availability of flowing water, which is required for development by the immature stages. Many of the worst pest species breed in large rivers, some of which can produce nearly a billion flies per kilometer of riverbed per day. Other pest species inhabit the small, but myriad, streams of heavily wooded terrain, making management efforts difficult.

Often ranked third worldwide among arthropods in importance as vectors of disease agents, black flies also are among the few arthropods that have lulled animals by exsanguination during massive attacks. Even when not biting, their persistent swarming behavior can create an

MEDICAL AND VETERINARY ENTOMOLOGY Copyright 2002, Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.

intolerable nuisance as the blood-seeking females dart into facial orifices and crawl on the skin. As often is the case, the behavior of a minority defines the reputation of the group. So it is with black flies, for only about 10— 20% of the world's species are actually pests of humans and their animals. But among these species are the vectors of the agents of human onchocerciasis and mansonel-losis, bovine onchocerciasis, and avian leucocytozoonosis. The majority of species, however, go unnoticed, either because they do not feed as adults or because their hosts are of little economic concern.

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