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 ...

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! 🙂 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 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 ...

Some interesting flies from Paraguay

Some interesting flies from Paraguay
Today I received a small parcel of Diptera from Ulf in Paraguay – many thanks Ulf! 🙂  In the mix were lots of different families but he had sorted out mainly the calyptrates for me … with an emphasis on the tachinids, of course. Here are the first specimens from the parcel – 2 Tachinini ...

Trichophora (Diaphanomyia) aurifacies, Desvoidy

Trichophora (Diaphanomyia) aurifacies, Desvoidy
In this post I showed a species of Trichophora determined by Monty Wood. During a visit to the BMNH I discovered that there were no similar Trichophora spp. in their collection but in the same drawer I found Diaphanomyia aurifacies, which seems a very good fit … and this is obviously closely related to Trichophora. ...

Jurinia notata, Bigot (Bolivia)

Jurinia notata, Bigot (Bolivia)
In this post I showed a Jurinia sp. from Bolivia, determined by Monty Wood. During a visit to the BMNH I discovered a species called Jurinia notata, Bigot (holotype in the collection). Here are some photos of the BMNH material, including the holotype (sadly not in good condition) and an additional specimen. * specimen photos ...

Archytas aurifrons, Townsend

Archytas aurifrons, Townsend
Last week I spent a happy afternoon at the BMNH, courtesy of Erica & Nigel in the Diptera department. I decided to concentrate on a few genera and try to identify a few neotropical specimens. My first was Archytas, a large genus with many very similar species, because I have a few quite atypical taxa ...

More stacks

More stacks
Here are a few stacks of European tachinids make by Dave Dare the other day. The specimens are all on loan from the NHML (Armenian specimens) and ZMMU (Russian & Azerbaijani specimens) so I was keen to record some of the more interesting/rare things before either sending them back or passing them on to other ...

A really puzzling black tachinid

A really puzzling black tachinid
This weekend I have been having another look at the Armenian and Russian samples and hit the same problem … a really puzzling but very distinctive tachinid that just won’t key confidently. They bear a passing resemblance to Loewia sp. because they are shiny black with short antennae that are mounted on the face level ...

Cogden by the sea 3

Cogden by the sea
(updated, now that I have seen the specimens under a microscope! ;)) Today’s jaunt was to Cogden beach (Dorset, SY502881) to pick up a bit of the sea air and have a look at the coastal flora. We got out early to get into the carpark before it filled up and headed down to the path ...