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Simulium trifasciatum adult (British Entomology by John Curtis- 765).png
Simulium trifasciatum
Scientific classification

Latreille, 1802
Type species
S. colombaschense
(Scopoli, 1780) usually attrib. Fabricius, 1787

See Text.

Simulium P1370234a.jpg
Simulium P1370233a.jpg

Simulium is a genus of black flies, which may transmit diseases such as onchocerciasis (river blindness). It is a large genus with several hundred species, and 41 subgenera.[1]

The flies are pool feeders. Their saliva, which contains anticoagulants, a number of enzymes and histamine, is mixed with the blood, preventing clotting until it is ingested by the fly. These bites cause localized tissue damage, and if the number of feeding flies is sufficient, their feeding may produce a blood-loss anaemia.

The host's reaction to fly attacks may include systemic illness, allergic reactions or even death, presumably mediated by histamine. In humans, this systemic reaction is known as "black fly fever" and is characterized by headaches, fever, nausea, adenitis, generalized dermatitis, and allergic asthma.




In Balkan Folklore[edit]

In Serbian mythology there is a legend concerning an ala (demon) (a female entity associated with hailstorms, madness and disease) fabled to have died in a cave near the town of Golubac in the Pozarevac District in Eastern Serbia. The rotting corpse of this being is said to send forth each Spring a swarm of Golubatz flies - individuals of the species Simulium colombaschense. The fact that the Golubatz fly is a voracious bloodsucker and disease vector accords well with the functions attributed to the ala, emphasising her malign potency - even in death - while the legend provides, reciprocally, a folkloric explanation for the genesis of so unpleasant an insect.[3][4] The specific name colombaschense signifies 'of Golubac' (Serbian pronunciation: 'Golubatz' ) - the name of the village (signifying dovecote from Slavic golub a dove/pigeon (see Columbidae), cognate with Latin (language) columba, having the same meaning). S. colombaschense was a notorious insect pest of the Banat (part of the Pannonian Basin, bordered to the south by the Danube), during the 18th century.[5]


  1. ^ Peter H. Adler & Roger W. Crosskey (2009). "World Blackflies (Diptera: Simuliidae): A Comprehensive Revision of the Taxonomic and Geographical Inventory". Natural History Museum. p. 109.
  2. ^ Hernandez Triana, Luis M. (2011). Systematics of the Blackfly Subgenus Trichodagmia Enderlein (Diptera: Simuliidae: Simulium) in the New World. Wageningen University. pp. ix, 1–536. ISBN 9789085858652.
  3. ^ Ramel, Gordon John Larkman (4 March 2007). "The Nematocera". Earth-Life Web Productions. Archived from the original on 6 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-21. (Beside biological data, the page mentions a legend on black flies from the Carpathians.)
  4. ^ Karadžić, Vuk Stefanović (2005). Живот и обичаји народа српскога (in Serbian). Belgrade: Politika : Narodna knjiga. p. 276. ISBN 86-331-1946-3.
  5. ^ Thompson, F. Christian (March 2001). "The Name of the Type Species of Simulium (Diptera: Simuliidae): an historical footnote". Entomological News 112 (2): 125. Retrieved 2011-04-08.