Some Argentinian, Bolivian & Costa Rican tachinids 1

Some Argentinian, Bolivian & Costa Rican tachinids
A few of the more dramatic specimens from the neotropics a sample kindly donated by Martin Hauser 🙂  Identifications were derrived by comparing ot material in the NHM collections, London. EDIT (6/8/2011): I have just spotted that Monty Wood has demoted Trichosaundersia Townsend to a synonym of Epalpus – so have amended this article accordingly.

Some new Pantophthalmus specimens

Some new Pantophthalmus specimens
Today I had the very great pleasure to open the latest parcel of interesting flies – this time from Martin Hauser, in California. Martin had sent a nice selection of North & South American tachinids along with 3 pantophthalmids. The tachinids are superb but I will post more about them later – today I concentrated ...

Paradejeania rutiloides from the USA

Paradejeania rutiloides from the USA
This lovely 2cm long fly came from California, via Villu in Estonia 😀  Paradejeania is a very distinctive genus with a single species – there are many large tachinids with strong abdomenal bristles but none with such a characteristic triangle on the tergites, made by the marginals and discals.

Some more photos of pantophthalmids 1

Some more photos of pantophthalmids
Today Martin Hauser sent me some really interesting photos of pantophthalmids in his collection. They are reproduced here with his permission – when I have photos of all species I will probably create a dedicated Pantophthalmidae page 🙂

Foenomorpha senlura (Cenocoeliinae, Braconidae) 2

Foenomorpha senlura (Cenocoeliinae, Braconidae)
I have extracted a few evanoid-like braconids from the recent French Guianan batch and amongst the Cenocoeliinae I found a few of these, which I didn’t think was related but Yves Braet (an expert on French Guianan braconids) suggested Foenomorpha and after a bit of Googling I found a key (by Yves) that suggests that ...

fg-taxon #91 (Phasia sp.)

fg-taxon #91 (Phasia sp.)
This is a real Phasia lookalike with it’s body shape and wing venation, but I have run it through the keys in Sun & Marshall and compared the venation and genitalia to the figures and I can’t see anything that comes close enough to convince me that it is a Phasia sp. EDIT (Monty Wood ...

Apechoneura sp. (Ichneumonidae, Labeninae)

Apechoneura sp. (Ichneumonidae, Labeninae)
Here is another little distraction from my normal interests in the form of a French Guianan ichneumon called Apechoneura of the subfamily Labeninae. Many thanks to Gavin Broad of the NHM for the identification. I had initially thought that it was a rhyssine because it has a wonderfully ridged thorax but this is also a ...

Pelecotheca (prob. Cryptocladocera) sp. female (fg-taxon #90)

Pelecotheca (prob. Cryptocladocera) sp. female (fg-taxon #90)
This one is unusual because the abdomen is tipped with a strange, shiny, flattened structure that resembles a squashed tube. EDIT (Monty Wood 26/9/2010): This is an example of a female Pelecotheca (probably the female of the large multi-fissicorn featherfaces so sub-genus Cryptocladocera). The flattened shiny structure is distinctive of this group of sub-genera.

fg-taxon #89 (Masiphya sp. – male)

fg-taxon #89 (Masiphya sp. - male)
A really unusual medium-sized tachinid with large curved-under genitalia. In addition to that it has widely separated T1+2 marginals, a projecting mouth edge, 2 katepisternals, quite short antennae & a small ‘Sturmia-spot’. EDIT (Monty Wood 26/9/2010): This is a male Masiphya sp. – a genus with highly distinctive male genitalia and (usually) with vibrissae high ...

fg-taxon #88 (Jurinia sp.)

fg-taxon #88 (Jurinia sp.)
EDIT (Monty Wood 26/9/2010): This is a Jurinia sp.

fg-taxon #87 (Myothyriopsis cf. bivittata)

fg-taxon #87 (Myothyriopsis cf. bivittata)
EDIT (Monty Wood 26/9/2010): This is Myothyriopsis poss. bivittata – the broad black vittae are quite distinctive. This genus has been reared from Heliconius butterflies.

fg-taxon #31 (Myothyriopsis sp.)

fg-taxon #31 (Myothyriopsis sp.)
EDIT (Monty Wood 26/9/2010): This is Myothyriopsis sp. – this genus has been reared from Heliconius butterflies.

Pheeewww! I’ve just finished sorting batch 3

Pheeewww! I've just finished sorting batch 3
I like to split the processing of Malaise trap samples into several distinct phases. The first phase is to empty the tubes of insects suspended in alcohol into individual tupperware trays and then work through them, splitting out the groups that I am interested in (mainly tachinids) and that I collect for friends. The tachinids ...

Capitonius sp. (Braconidae, Cenocoeliinae) – an evanoid ‘mimic’

Capitonius sp. (Braconidae, Cenocoeliinae) - an evanoid 'mimic'
Amongst the evanoid wasps I have found quite a few of these little wasps. At first I thought that they must be evanoids because the gaster is mounted very high on the propodeum but on closer inspection they have fused costal veins and so they actually key (in Goulet & Huber, 1993) to Braconidae. Then ...

Hemistephanus erugatus (Stephanoidea, Stephanidae) 5

Hemistephanus erugatus (Stephanoidea, Stephanidae)
Continuing the Hymenoptera theme I have been picking out anything that looks a bit like an evanoid wasp and came across these lovely stephanoids. The Stephanoidea (the only family being Stephanidae) are quite distinctive because they have very round heads with a crown of little thorns around a median ocellus – coupled with the fact ...

An amazing French Guianan chalcid 2

An amazing French Guianan chalcid
I know it must seem like I have gone over to the dark-side but Hymenoptera aren’t all bad … Jean sent me a few tubes of wasps in his recent batch and it didn’t take long before I found some really exquisite insects – like this one. Normal chalcids are tiny little things but this ...

Third French Guianan batch arrives! 2

Third French Guianan batch arrives!
Newsflash – the third batch of flies from Jean Cerda in French Guiana has arrived. Looks like a really big sample too so I am keeping my fingers crossed for plenty of fun this winter!  More news to follow as I work through them 😀

Cordyligaster petiolata (Sophiini, fg-taxon #85) 2

Cordyligaster petiolata (Sophiini, fg-taxon #85)
This is my current favourite from Villu’s recent sample of tachinids from French Guiana – it looks very closely related to one I found in my last batch – see here. This identification was made by comparing the specimen to material in the NHM in London – many thanks to Erica McAlister & Kim Goodyear ...

A sample from Estonia 1

A sample from Estonia
I have just taken delivery of a really interesting sample of tachinids from Villu Soon at the Museum of Zoology, Tartu, Estonia. It is a mixture of 3/4 Estonian and 1/3 French Guianan samples so it is doubly exciting for me – things I can actually identify and add to my Palearctic collection PLUS more ...

fg-taxon #83 (Telothyria sp.) 2

fg-taxon #83 (Telothyria sp.)
This is a strange little tachinid with a fluffy thorax (the hair has been matted by alcohol in the photos) similar to Pollenia (Calliphoridae). It also has extremely large Carcelia-like eyes and narrow gena. The proboscis is also quite long and looks like it might project slightly in front of the mouth edge if it ...