fg-taxon #82 (Ebenia sp.)

fg-taxon #82 (Ebenia sp.)
This is a bit of an oddity and might actually be a rhinophorid – it has a fairly complete subscutellum; diverging calyptrae and a small, roundish head. But it’s hard to guess what neotropical rhinophorids look like. EDIT (Monty Wood 26/9/2010): This is an Ebenia sp.

Archytas aurifrons (fg-taxon #80) 1

Archytas aurifrons (fg-taxon #80)
This nice little tachinid looks very like a Tachininae – similar to fg-taxon #20 but with more black on the abdomen. EDIT (Monty Wood 26/9/2010): These are an Archytas sp. EDIT (6/8/2011): After a visit to the BMNH I believe these to be Archytas aurifrons, Townsend.

fg-taxon #81 (close to Itacuphocera sp.)

fg-taxon #81 (close to Itacuphocera sp.)
This is an interesting little taxon shaped a little like a queen wood ant, with a very bulbous abdomen. The basic colour is glossy black with quite a dense layer of hairs on the abdomen. The head is quite rounded – especially at the back, with long antennae and a yellow arista. EDIT (Monty Wood ...

Tachinids from Galicia, Spain

Tachinids from Galicia, Spain
A few weeks ago José Luis Camaño Portela contacted me and asked if I would mind helping him identify some tachinids that he had been collecting as part of a scheme to record the biodiversity in the Galicia region of north-western Spain. It is an unusual location from a collecting point of view and he ...

OPAL funding

Earlier this year The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network announced that they had made grants available to UK natural history societies and recording schemes. OPAL are a multipartner organization that aims “to create and inspire a new generation of nature-lovers by getting people to explore, study, enjoy and protect their local environment.” They are funded ...

Rhamphina pedemontana

Rhamphina pedemontana
This is one of my favourite tachinids – a species from montane habitats with a huge proboscis that it keeps hinged under the body. It was collected in the French Pyrennes on umbellifer flowers bordering an alpine meadow. Eurithia sp. were also flying at the same time and look superficially very similar.

Tachinids at the Moscow Zoological Museum

Tachinids at the Moscow Zoological Museum
I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon at the Moscow Zoological Museum during my recent holiday in Russia. I concentrated on photographing as many interesting species as I could and documenting every drawer for future reference. I am very keen to expand my knowledge of Palearctic tachinids by obtaining specimens from any collectors who ...

Hartslock – 12th July 2009

http://hartslock.org.uk/blog/?p=254

Moor Copse – 11-12 July 2009

Moor Copse - 11-12 July 2009
I made 2 quick visits to Moor Copse this weekend – the first was in light drizzle and the second was in full sun. On both visits I concentrated on visiting the Hogweeds that grow along the margins of the main wet meadow. Diptera: Stratiomys potamida was seen on both days, along with Phasia obesa ...

Red-necked footman moth at Hartslock 2

Red-necked footman moth at Hartslock
http://hartslock.org.uk/blog/?p=250

Bombus hypnorum at Moor Copse

Bombus hypnorum at Moor Copse
In the afternoon I decided to head out to one of my favourite local nature reserves – Moor Copse. Despite being pestered by clegg flies (Haematopota sp.) I managed to see some really nice insects – most notable of which was Bombus hypnorum, a recent visitor to the UK. The only problem was accidentally setting ...

Is art worth killing for?

It might sound like a strange question to ask an entomologist but a recent debate on bug_girl’s blog got me thinking. Obviously, I have no qualms about collecting insects for my studies because my work contributes to scientific knowledge and indirectly benefits the things I am interested in. But are art displays like those by ...

Pantophthalmidae

Pantophthalmidae
These photos are of my holdings (9 specimens) in the family Pantophthalmidae, originating from French Guiana and obtained partly from Philippe Soler (Le Planeur Bleu museum, Cacao) and partly from Jean Cerda’s Malaise trap samples. This neotropical family is related to the soldier flies (Stratiomyidae) but the pantophthalmids are renowned for being some of the ...

Palearctic reorganisation finished!

Palearctic reorganisation finished!
Ta Da!! I have finally arranged my palearctic specimens into their correct drawers – alphabetically by genus. It started off in 8 drawers but allowing for gaps and slack-space it finally stretched to 11 drawers (195 species). Amazing really – I didn’t know I had so many tachinids!! The first drawer in the photo is ...

Sturmia bella update

Sturmia bella update
Just received an update from Dr Owen Lewis, the manager of the Sturmia bella project, a project set up to investigate the role of Sturmia bella in the decline of the Small Tortoishell (Aglais urticae) butterfly. I have attached his first-year report below (in PDF format) and it makes interesting reading. While Sturmia is undoubtably ...

Palearctic reorganization

I decided not to avoid it any more and started organizing my Palearctic collection into glass-topped drawers and unit trays. This means bringing together my British material (3 store-boxes); my Russian specimens (1 store box), Finnish specimens (1 store box) and my existing European specimens (1 store box). Having everything together in one place makes ...

Finnish finished

Finnish finished
Just packaged up some flies to go back to Jari in Finland – he lent me some of his Malaise trapped tachinids to identify, with the promise of sharing the identified ones between us. Towards the end I had to admit defeat with the Siphona sp. (the Finnish fauna is totally different to what I ...

fg-taxon-79 (Atacta sp.) 2

fg-taxon-79 (Atacta sp.)
This is another really lovely tachinid of medium size but with everything very rounded. The head is similar to some of the Goniini and even the posterior segments of the abdomen are rounded and whitened. UPDATE (30/1/2010): After comparing with the material at the NHM in London I think this is a species of Belvosia ...

Lauxanid #1 (Setulina cf. geminata)

Lauxanid #1 (Setulina cf. geminata)
This is really pretty little lauxanid with a lovely mottled wing pattern. This specimen has been donated to Steve Gaimari, who was kind enough to offer a tentative identification. Hopefully he will be able to confirm it when he gets the specimen 🙂

Cordyligaster analis (Sophiini, fg-taxon-78) 2

Cordyligaster analis (Sophiini, fg-taxon-78)
This spectacular fly looks very similar in style to European Mintho spp., but it is in fact a dexiine from the tribe Sophiini. The body length is 13mm, which makes is quite a large species, the calyptrae are very small and the palps are covered with small bristlets. It seems fairly obvious that it is ...