Encounter with a disgusting bloodsucker

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Haematopota pluvialis

The female common horsefly, writes Dalrymple, is

a bloodsucker, usually of horses and cows but sometimes of men. Her bite is very unpleasant and she injects an anticoagulant into her mammalian victim, sucking up the spilled blood immediately afterwards in a most disgusting way.

In the bedroom, Dalrymple is reading Chekhov with his wife asleep beside him. One of the creatures flies in. Dalrymple is fascinated and horrified.

I observed the fly closely. From a certain point of view it was admirable. Large as flies go, its tapered abdomen was extremely neat, dark with whitish stripes. Its head, which it swivelled from side to side as if taking in the world around it preparatory to an attack, was mainly composed of large compound eyes. It (or perhaps I should say she) also had nasty-looking biting equipment on its head.

Dalrymple acts.

I found an insecticide spray and directed it at the horsefly.

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