Nearctic Tachina spp.

Nearctic Tachina spp.
Here are a few nice-looking Tachina specimens from North America (actually Lake Prairie, Humboldt County, CA). I have tentatively identified them using Ravlin & Stehr (1984) and they come out as Tachina latianulum & T. algens, from the male genitalia.

Nearctic Leschenaultia spp.

Nearctic Leschenaultia spp.
Just been looking at a few North American tachinids and picked out some rather nice-looking Leschenaultia – a genus of quite large, spikey tachinids with a lovely dense bristle comb on the hind tibia. One came pre-identified by Dan Hansen, so I know it is probably correct, but the other 2 just keyed to Leschenaultia ...

It’s all gone white out there…

It's all gone white out there...
Southern England had another blanket of snow last night – about 40cm in my area, which is the most snow I have seen since I was a child. Of course, the town was pretty much at a standstill and most people didn’t go in to work because our infrastructure just isn’t set up for this ...

Christmas, West Bexington & Cogden

Christmas, West Bexington & Cogden
Here’s a few photos from this Christmas – a few of us having our Christmas dinner and then some photos of the sea taken at West Bexington and Cogden Beach:

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
Last night we had one of the heaviest snow storms in many years and I woke to about 15-20cm of snow blanketting everything. Several friends have said they took hours to drive home from work last night and it seems that many people had to abandon their cars on the main road, rather than try ...

Estonian tachinids

Estonian tachinids
I have finally finished identifying and databasing the majority of Villu’s Estonian tachinids! 🙂  There were just short of 200 European tachinids and lots of interesting species that were new to me – some of which are shown below. I still have to work on the French Guianan material but I will probably just bring ...

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 🙂

Moor Copse – the Pang in full spate

Moor Copse - the Pang in full spate
I took these photos today on my constitutional, of the river Pang in full spate after the recent rains – quite impressive!

Dipterist’s Weekend at the NHM 2

Dipterist's Weekend at the NHM
This weekend was the annual Dipterist’s Forum AGM and talks & workshops – held at the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London. I went along for both days and it was pretty full-on & tiring but excellent fun. 🙂 Saturday was mainly devoted to the AGM and lots of Diptera-related talks in one of the ...

The cabinets have arrived!! 6

The cabinets have arrived!!
I have just spent a really fun day with 2 friends of mine, Becca & John, driving up to the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London to pick up the OPAL-funded insect cabinets!! 😀 Max & Howard were away in Peru on a NHM jolly but Paul Brown stood in for them and looked after ...

Moor Copse – 15th November 2009

Moor Copse - 15th November 2009
For my Sunday constitutional walk I went over to Moor Copse again. The storm-force winds of the previous 2 days and night had abated and I thought it might be useful for the reserve managers if I went round to look for fallen trees. It was a bit muddy under foot but the sun shone ...

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.