A short hike and I found crabs in the docks of the new forest??

Crab fly, ink and watercolour

Crab fly, ink and watercolour #naturedoodlewash

So for today’s #naturedoodlewash I really did not need to travel far. From my title you may think I went on a delightful ramble along the coast, but on this occasion I wasn’t near a single port /harbour or dock as you may have thought for finding crabs. Instead I was down the field doing my morning checks of the three boys, paddy, struggles and Woody.

Now the new forest is a wonderful place all year round, but it is also home to a beast of an insect,known as the crab fly and detested by horse keepers ( and other livestock) it is found more commonly in the hairless areas of the horse, between the legs and under the dock ( tail). It is not found worldwide, instead in a number of hotspots around the world, maybe we should be privaledged?? Ummmm NO sorry.

It is a real problem in the summer for some horses, and I have known a few to throw themselves onto the floor and roll to get them off….even if a rider is onboard, it is unusual, and usually if this occurs it is a horse purchased from out of the local area. Apart from the fact they bite the horses, they run sideways like a crab, with a claw grip, this sensation is horrid, I know! They are so difficult to catch, and when you do they have a hard shell, making it difficult to squash. As yet no fly spray really works, if someone ever develops one it would be worth a fortune in the new forest πŸ˜‰

Latin name:-

Hippobosca equina, also known as the forest fly or New Forest fly, is a biting fly from the family Hippoboscidae. They are blood-feeding ectoparasites of primarily horses and other large mammals including cattle.It is a permanently fully winged fly, not shedding its wings on finding its host, as in some other Hippoboscidae. With its wings retained, it may thus fly away from its host to deposit its larvae. They are good fliers

Wing length 6.0–8.5 millimetres (0.24–0.33 in).

The primary distribution is in Europe and parts of Asia and Africa. It has been introduced to other locations, though in some cases latter eradicated by modern husbandry practices.In the United Kingdom they are known primarily from the New Forest and increasingly from South Devon. There are occasionally recorded from other part of the UK, though some reports as far north as the Scottish borders are considered dubious.In the United Kingdom, their flight period is from May to October, but peaking August and early September.

Their primary host are equines; they are often also frequently found on cattle on which they are able to maintain a population. They have been known to bite a number of other mammals, including sheep and goats. Though it is actively attracted to humans and will land, it does not often bite them. Other mammals it may also live on are red deer, camel and rabbit. Also on birds: the grey heron, and the northern goshawk.


About REcreate-RebeccaEvansCreate

My name is Rebecca Evans, living in the New Forest I have been inspired to paint the many animals often seen around me. Having ridden since Childhood, painting equines was a natural path to follow. I use a variety of media, watercolour, oil, charcoal, pastel,inks, plus a few more, infact I will try most things. Choosing the medium to work with can really change the effect of the art, and therefore the character of the animal. Sometimes it is an instant decision, sometimes it is the mood from within me which determines which medium I choose to use. I never know what might inspire me next, but if it’s hairy, I will be sure to try.
This entry was posted in art and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to A short hike and I found crabs in the docks of the new forest??

  1. Susan Feniak says:

    Fantastic detail Rebecca, but I have come to expect that from you. πŸ™‚ Poor animals that have to deal with these annoying flies!! Pesky things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh they are horrid, although I hate horse flies more, but they are not constantly around the horses, unlike these crab flies, which are sneaky and hide. Horse flies come in to land like a helicopter, you hear them and cannot miss their huge size, and gosh when they bite, it’s big….check out YouTube for horse fly bites, you will see why those are the most feared, lol

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, dear – I’ve been breaking out in hives due to stress and this makes me itch. Our neighbors have horses as you know … my imagination runs wild!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Luckily they are ok if they land on humans, which they generally don’t, but they do sometimes get caught up on clothing, or in your hair, and that’s when I understand the horses hatred to these bugs. Although I am not good at squashing them between my fingers, preferring to blitz the horses with benzyl benzoate, it seems to be the only thing I have found over the years that helps for a while.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I detest horse flies, ugh! when my daughter had her horse, it was a common pest we had to deal with. Reading your post was interesting and at the same time gave me goosebumps!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a fantastically terrifying biting thing! Yay! This makes me happy! Lol Your detail is gorgeous and perfectly rendered lines…love it! If I’d it’s scary as hell, it’s still beautiful!! 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Charlie, I had to do this super quick as every time I looked at it I quivered, that lamy pen comes in handy when time is short. I decided to get this fly done last night before I forgot, or became too scared? Now the sun has come out they are every where.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. debiriley says:

    fabulous illustration with description to match Rebecca!
    having previously raised horses, we were only troubled by bot flies usually. and they did not hide. I would hate these things that hide…. Bad bugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, we get those bots too, although the horses are not bothered by them, I guess compared to the crab fly the bot is a pussy cat. For me it just means scraping those legs more each day to rid them of yellow eggs, grrr…..there is a spray now called stop the bot, again it does not work tremendously well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • debiriley says:

        I wonder…. if lemon, orange, garlic, or lemongrass, or thyme juiced, and wiped on their legs would deter the flies…..
        or tie chrysanthemums and marigolds to their legs Hahahaha.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I like the flowers around legs idea, pretty ponies…..unfortunately those ingredients don’t help with the crab flies, I usually make my own fly spray, and it does include most of your list, helps for normal flies commonly found around horses, but not the crabbies…..I have even sprayed directly and soaked them in a puddle of spray, they just scurry sideways out of the puddle. Spray glue might work, but no good on the ponies, lol

        Liked by 1 person

      • debiriley says:

        wretched bugs 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, this is an amazing piece of artwork, Rebecca! You and Charlie really have a gift for these things lol! Yike, sounds like the ultimate horse enemy, this little thing. Eek. Gorgeous rendering though.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Teri C says:

    That is an amazing fly, both in your art and your information!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This doodlewash is REALLY cool….for such a hateful pest. Love the detail you have in it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s