Horse-flies are large flies of the family Tabanidae that feed mainly on
nectar. The males have weak mouthparts; only the females bite animals,
including humans, to obtain enough protein from the blood to produce
eggs. For this they use a stout stabbing organ and two pairs of sharp
cutting blades to bite, and a spongelike part to lap up the blood that
flows from the wound. They can transfer blood-borne diseases from one
animal to another. They can also reduce growth rates in cattle and lower
the milk output of cows if suitable shelters are not provided; some
animals have lost up to 300 millilitres of blood in a single day to the
insects. Horseflies prefer to fly in sunlight, avoiding dark and shady
areas, and are inactive at night. They are found all over the world
except for some islands and the polar regions. The larvae are predaceous
and grow in semiaquatic habitats. Horse-flies have appeared in
literature since Aeschylus in Ancient Greece wrote about them driving
people to madness. Gadflies (horse-flies and botflies) are mentioned in
Shakespeare's plays King Lear and Antony and Cleopatra.
Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse-fly>
Today's selected anniversaries:
An outbreak of dancing mania, wherein crowds of people danced
themselves to exhaustion, took place in Aachen (present-day Germany),
before spreading to other cities and countries.
Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi established a
council to govern the city of Manila (Manila Cathedral pictured), now
the capital of the Philippines.
Napoleonic Wars: The French Grande Armée under Napoleon
crossed the Neman River, marking the start of their invasion of Russia.
The United States' first two "fast battleships", the North
Carolina class, were ordered from the New York and Philadelphia Naval
British Airways Flight 9 flew into a cloud of volcanic ash
thrown up by the eruption of Indonesia's Mount Galunggung, resulting in
the failure of all four of its engines.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. Like a tree; having a structure or appearance similar to that of a tree;
2. (philosophy) Marked by insistence on totalizing principles, binarism and
dualism (as opposed to the rhizome theory).
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Humor is … nearer right than any emotion we have. Humor is the
atmosphere in which grace most flourishes.
--Henry Ward Beecher
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