Sarcophaga carnaria group male genitalia 1

Sarcophaga carnaria group male genitalia
I made this photo a little while ago, from my own specimens of the British Sarcophaga carnaria group (carnaria, variegata & subvicina). I posted it on Facebook and it went down very well with dipterists so I thought I’d post it here and give it a proper home ūüôā

Tarassus shannoni confirmed from Colombia

Tarassus shannoni confirmed from Colombia
A little while ago I posted about a strange fly that had been shown to me at the Natural History Museum. It looked clearly like a phasiine tachinid but it lacked hypopleural bristles, which would normally mean that it would key as a muscoid, not an oestroid fly. It’s a very perplexing specimen but at ...

The first female of Alvamaja chlorometallica Rognes, 2010 found in Romania

The first female of Alvamaja chlorometallica Rognes, 2010 found in Romania
This autumn my friend Alexandru Pintilioaie in Romania sent me a batch of flies, including one metallic rhinophorid. We both agreed that it looked very odd and interesting so I took some photos on the photo-stacking system at the Angela Marmont Centre (NHM) to thank him. European rhinophorids are not really my group so I ...

Tachinids from La Palma

Tachinids from La Palma
I received a really interesting parcel today from a friend who holidayed in La Palma earlier this year. He had spotted some Tachina that looked quite different from the run-of-the-mill Tachina fera so he took a few, along with a couple of other tachinids. On close examination, and after taking advice from Peter Tschorsnig, they ...

Some nice Venezuelan tachinids 2

Some nice Venezuelan tachinids
Just had time to look at a box of Venezuelan tachinids sent to me by my good friend Jose Manuel Ayala. There are plenty of complete unknowns but a few look like familiar friend: a beautifully marked Zelia sp. (#2 on the top row) & Cylindromyia sp, (#5 on the middle row).

Cretan and Dutch tachinids

Cretan and Dutch tachinids
Today I will be working on a nice little batch of tachinids sent to me my Ruud van der Weele and collected by him in Crete and at home in the Netherlands. They are mainly a nice mixture of typical southern European genera (Gymnosoma, Cylindromyia, &¬†Eliozeta). Many thanks to Ruud for his generous donation! ūüôā ...

More Romanian tachinids

More Romanian tachinids
Here are the last of Alexandru’s batch of Romanian tachinids, caught in 2010. They spent a long time in alcohol so they are not in the best of condition but most of them should be easy enough to identify, I hope!¬†There are lots of Tachina, a few Nowickia, Thelaira, Solieria, Billaea,¬†Ectophasia, one Cylindromyia and absolutely ...

Dinocampus coccinellae at Hartslock

Dinocampus coccinellae at Hartslock
Last weekend, on a quick (and rather cold) trip to Hartslock, I discovered a 7-spot ladybird that had been attacked by Dinocampus coccinellae, a parasitic wasp. The wasp lives inside the ladybird eating its non-vital organs  until it is ready to pupate. Then the wasp larva cuts the nerves to the ladybirds legs so that it ...

Something from Yves 2

Something from Yves
This week has been a good one for deliveries – today I received a parcel from my friend Yves. This is part of a batch from Nouragues, French Guiana, collected by Stephane Brule a few years ago. My first impressions are that the material has a lot of dead leaves and it seems to have ...

A Venezuelan delivery… 1

A Venezuelan delivery...
This week I have been working on a batch of Venezuelan tachinids, kindly sent to me by Manuel Ayala (see right). They are a lovely mixture of species collected my Manuel since the 1960s – all hand netted so they are in quite a good condition. The highlights of the batch are definitely the male ...

A new objective – Lomo 8x 0.20 1

A new objective - Lomo 8x 0.20
Received a nice little Russian microscope objective today from Haworthiaworld on eBay – a Lomo 8x 0.20 finite (I assume 160/-). I wasn’t expecting much from a ¬£7 lens but it seems to have some promise. I have just finished a few test stacks and, my incompetence aside, the lens seems to be up to ...

Morphos

Morphos
As a quick follow-up to the “More butterfly wings…” post I thought you might like to see full-sized images of the butterflies used in the tests – starting with the most glamorous ones – the Morpho butterflies. The intense, metallic blue colours on a Morpho are not caused by pigments but instead are iridescence caused ...

More butterfly wings… 1

More butterfly wings...
I got an unexpected “gift” the other day of a Melles Griot 16x/0.32 160/0.17 microscope objective lens. I had ordered the 10x version (which is probably all I need in terms of magnification) but the eBay seller sent me the wrong one – but, being a nice chap, he said he’d refund me and I ...

Butterfly wings 1

Butterfly wings
One of the standard ways to test a macro photography set-up is to photograph a butterfly’s wing and then show the image as a crop at the maximum digital zoom. Here are a few photos taken with my EL-Nikkor 50mm f2.8 lens reversed on bellows to give 3:1 magnification on the sensor: These photographs have ...

Fly genitalia stacks 1

Fly genitalia stacks
Here are a few stacks of various fly genitalia – taken at 4x magnification using the Schneider Componon 35mm f4 lens.

Some Neotropical Siphonini

Some Neotropical Siphonini
Today I went through some of the specimens in my World collection that had been labelled under the siphonine genera (Actia, Borgmeiermyia, Ceromya, Pseudosiphona etc.). Here are some photos: The Erythomelana is only “possibly” at the moment … it keys to that but I have never seen the genus so I have asked Monty Wood ...

A stalk-eyed fly (Diopsidae)

A stalk-eyed fly (Diopsidae)
Here is a stalk-eyed fly from Western Malaysia, taken at about 3x magnification. The equipment was Canon 1000D + Schneider Componon 35mm f4 lens reversed on bellows racked to 50mm. This is a 19-photo stack processed in Zerene Stacker (PMax method) and then in PhotoShop. The eyes on this fly are about 4mm apart and ...

A few ultra-close shots of tiny tachinids! 2

A few ultra-close shots of tiny tachinids!
It’s not often that you get this close to the very rare and tiny Microsoma exiguum (3mm), Cinochira atra (2mm) & Catharosia pygmaea (4-5mm). I have been playing around with a Schneider Componon 35mm f4 lens – a new acquisition from eBay for ¬£16 posted. When reversed on bellows and racked out to about 90mm ...

Some more stacking … 1

Some more stacking ...
Here are a few Pelecotheca (Cryptocladocera) sp. stacks. The technique involves taking about 30 photos, each at a different focal point in the specimen and using a macro-rail to slowly move the camera backwards or forwards. The focused parts of each photo are then combined using software called Zerene Stacker (Pmax setting) to make the ...

A great day in Cholsey

A great day in Cholsey
Tony’s meadow in Cholsey has been a survey site for the Hornet Robberfly (Asilus crabroniformis) because it is the center of a thriving population and he has been monitoring them himself for many years. Today I went over there with my friend Carim, who had¬†traveled¬†out from London specially to see Asilus. The weather was a ...