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Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Parasites and Diseases
Moose Fly

A Field Guide
TO COMMON WILDLIFE DISEASES
AND PARASITES IN ALASKA

MOOSE FLY

caption follows
Bloody wounds on hind leg of moose due to fly bites

What causes small open wounds on the hind legs of moose?
  • These wounds are caused by a biting fly commonly known as the “moose fly.” Its scientific name is Haematobosca alcis. Moose flies are slightly smaller than a common housefly.

Where are the flies found?
  • The flies are found wherever moose are found in Alaska.
  • Apparently, the flies do not attack other members of the deer family (such as deer, elk, or caribou).

What are the signs of moose fly attacks?
  • The flies bite the hindquarters of moose just above the hock. Hundreds of flies may attack a moose at one time. The numerous bites produce wet open sores, measuring up to 1 inch in diameter. The wounds are often bloody.

How can I protect myself?
  • The flies do not attack humans.

Can I eat the meat?
  • Neither the flies nor the wounds affect the edibility of the meat in any way. The meat is safe to eat.

Samples to collect
  • Report observations or submit photos.
  • To report an occurrence or to submit a sample for identification/analysis, contact the DWC Wildlife Disease Surveillance reporting hotline 907-328-8354, send an email to dfg.dwc.vet@alaska.gov or visit your local ADF&G office.
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