Acaulona sp. (pe-taxon #04)

Acaulona sp. (pe-taxon #04)
An interesting little (3-5mm) phasiine taxon – quite prolific in the peruvian samples. EDIT (Monty Wood, 26/9/2010): This is a group of Acaulona sp.

Chrysotachina sp. (pe-taxon #03)

Chrysotachina sp. (pe-taxon #03)
This little tachinine fly (7mm) is a very beautiful blue metallic colour, which suggests to me that it might belong to the genus Chrysotachina but I haven’t done any research yet so I could be wrong – it is certainly smaller than most Chrysotachina. EDIT (Monty Wood, 26/9/2010): This is indeed a Chrysotachina sp.

I’ve run out of pins – argghhh!!!

I've run out of pins - argghhh!!!
This weekend I have been mounting the peruvian samples and giving each a data label. But just short of 700 I have run out of pins! At least it will give my fingers a few days rest before I finish off the remaining 100 or so specimens. 🙂

Masiphya sp. (pe-taxon #02)

Masiphya sp. (pe-taxon #02)
This is a really interesting taxon group (genus?) where the males have very Sarcophaga-like genitalia – quite large, orange and hooked under the abdomen. They also seem to have a tuft of yellow hairs, like a Sturmia-spot, on the ventral side of tergite 5. EDIT (Monty Wood, 26/9/2010): This is a group of quite unusual ...

close to Prosenoides (pe-taxon #01)

close to Prosenoides (pe-taxon #01)
This is the first clearly different but unidentifiable taxon to be split from the peruvian sample. The deep gena and plumose arista suggest that it might be a dexiine and further to this it has a very elongate proboscis and strong median facial ridge – bearing a string similarity to the palearctic genus Prosena. However, ...

A new arrival from Peru!

Today I received a very exciting parcel of peruvian tachinids from John Smit and Menno Reemer. The samples were taken during the last half of 2009 in the Sachavacayoc Centre, Tambopata river region. This is a very species-rich part of the world with a very interesting fauna to me. I will probably take another few ...

Tachinid workshop – 13th February 2010

Today Matt & I ran a tachinid identification workshop at the BENHS collection at Dinton Pastures. This was the 4th or 5th year that we have done this but it was still very well attended with a variety of people from experts to complete novices. The day started with a brief run-through and PowerPoint of ...

2009 accessioning finished!

After 3 days of frantic reorganization in the Palearctic collection I have finally accessioned most of the tachinids I caught or was given last year – approximately 400-500 specimens! 😀 This included batches from: southern Bavaria (donated a long time ago by Dr Donald Quicke from a sample collected by Dr M. Kuhlmann) Galicia in ...

fg-taxon #98 (Calodexia sp.) 1

fg-taxon #98 (Calodexia sp.)
This is a really interesting group of species – all very similar in general body shape and with a curious ovipositor that appears to emerge vertically, under the abdomen. EDIT (Monty Wood 26/9/2010): These are all Calodexia spp. – parasitoids of cockroaches. Monty recalls seeing army ants driving invertebrates ahead of them and Calodexia swarming and leaping ...

Birds galore!

It has been very ‘birdy’ in the last few days. Yesterday I went to a local lake with my girlfriend and we saw a really superb Red-crested Pochard – a possible released species but still quite unusual. Then today, while having our breakfast we saw 2 new garden species – a flock of 4 Redpoll ...

The OPAL cabinets are complete!

The OPAL cabinets are complete!
At long last I am very pleased to say that the OPAL cabinet project is finished! Yesterday I collected the final batch of drawers from Max at the NHM in London and slotted them into place – as in the photo 😀  The observant amongst you will notice that I have only 36 drawers in ...

New unit trays

New unit trays
Whilst at the NHM last week Max Barclay kindly sorted me out with some new unit trays for the OPAL-funded cabinets. I have spent a few days transferring the collection over to the new trays and this is the result: I’m sure you’ll agree, they look really professional and they fit much better than the ...

Back to the NHM again …

Back to the NHM again ...
Recently I had a few chances to go back to the NHM in London and work with the world Diptera collections – it was marvellous! I took along some of my larger & more spectacular specimens from North & South America and tried to identify them (with varying levels of success!). I also took lots of ...

Bibiomima handlirschi

Bibiomima handlirschi
One of my favourite flies from my recent NHM visits is the amazingly marked Bibiomima handlirschi, a rare phasiine tachinid from Central & South America. This specimen was taken in the Panama Canal Zone in 1913.

Xanthoepalpus bicolor (Nearctic) & Epalpus (Oxyepalpus) flavoscutellatus (Ecuador)

Xanthoepalpus bicolor (Nearctic) & Epalpus (Oxyepalpus) flavoscutellatus (Ecuador)
This is an interesting “pair” of very similar-looking tachinids. One is Xanthoepalpus bicolor, a very distinctive species from the southern United States (this one is from Greenlee County, AZ). The other was collected in Ecuador (Napo, Rio Hollin, 1350m ASL) by Andrew Neild. There are no keys to this part of the world but after ...

Jurinella lutzi (Nearctic)

Jurinella lutzi (Nearctic)
This is another interesting “pair” of tachinids – the first being Jurinella lutzi (caught New Mexico, USA) and the second is a specimen caught in Ecuador (Napo, rio Hollin, 1350m ASL) by Andrew Neild. The second specimen keys well to Jurinella in the Nearctic Manual and, although the thoracic colouration and the arrangement of median ...

Oestrophasia calva (female, Nearctic)

Oestrophasia calva (female, Nearctic)
This is a really intriguing little orange, rounded phasiine tachinid with very un-tachinid-like shaded wings, like a tephritid. A few species occur in North America.

Protodejeania echinata (Nearctic) 1

Protodejeania echinata (Nearctic)
This one keys rather awkwardly to Protodejeania echinata … the problems center around the first couplet in Curren’s 1947 key where the reader has to decide whether the upper calyptrae are “brownish” or “reddish or brownish yellow”. I hate couplets like this because all of those colours are gradients of the other and no clear ...

Adejeania vexatrix (Nearctic) & look-alikes from Ecuador & Argentina 2

Adejeania vexatrix (Nearctic) & look-alikes from Ecuador & Argentina
Here is an absolute beauty that goes by the name of Adejeania vexatrix – note the extremely long palps protruding forwards and the long proboscis, in this specimen held under the body. The second specimen was taken in Ecuador (Napo, Rio Hollin, 1350m ASL) by Andrew Neild. This compares very favourably to specimens of Adejeania ...

Pararchytas decisa (Nearctic) 2

Pararchytas decisa (Nearctic)
Here is a nice specimen of Pararchytas decisa (male) – not the darkened wing bases and vein rm. I have yet to track down Norm Woodley’s revision* of this genus so the determination is tentative until I can see a description of all 3 species. EDIT (9/8/2011): I now have Norm Woodley’s key and this ...