Mrs. Obstinate Biter Hello, I am a horse-fly, infamous as a nuisance pest; My persistent bites can put your unwavering patience to test! My stubborn pursuit, drove people mad in Ancient Greece; Going down in history, even Shakespeare used me in his piece. A true-fly I am, with a single pair of wings; They call me a Dipteran, among other things. My family Tabanidae, has 4500 species in number; Some were named Tabanus by Pliny the Younger. I am pretty large, my eyes being the first thing you’ll see; I’ll saw though your skin, not sting like a bee. I am found all over the world, from deserts to meadows; But I avoid the poles, just like you fellows! I can sense your breath; watch your shuffling legs; Bite and sponge your tasty red blood, sorry, gotta lay eggs! My aerial maneuvers are like a fighter jet; Did I mention my husband is the fastest flying insect? I love irritating humans and livestock of different types; Alas! To avoid me, even the zebra developed stripes! I transmit pathogens, both biologically and mechanically; Trypanosomes linger on my mouthparts, loa loa grows in me. I noticed you trap my sisters, in that canopy at your site; Probably studying our genetics using microsatellites. I can keep chatting, but my lunch break is due; Wondering what I ‘l eat? What if I say it’s you! ---Devika Bhalerao

Watch a slide show of guaranteed oil-free Gulf coast wildlife and seascapes (by Claudia Husseneder)