National Geographic : 1914 Jul
© GREEN-HEADED HORSEFLY (Tabenus punctifer) There are nearly two hundred species of horseflies in North America, and this creature represents one of the commonest forms. The bands of iridescent green and copper and purple across its enormous eyes make it a beautiful creature to look upon. We never used tothink the bite of flies was anything worse than annoying; but recently, since we have discovered the danger of letting the germs ofdisease into the blood streams of our bodies, we have come to see the ghastly possibilities which lie in the piercing mouthparts ofthese flies. They suck the blood of animals whose blood streams may be swarming with disease germs, and then fly directly to our houses and puncture our skins with abeak cov ered with these germs, which slip off into our veins. Until we know that the diseases of the birds and field mice, the coons and 'possums, and all other warm-blooded beasts of a locality are harmless to us, or that it is impossible to transmit them tohuman beings, itisbest tolook upon these blood-sucking creatures as winged hypodermic syringes laden with disease. Photo and note byDavid and Marian Fairchild.