fg-taxon #77 (Chrysoexorista sp.)

fg-taxon #77 (Chrysoexorista sp.)
This is possibly the most beautiful tachinid I have ever seen. The photos say it all! 🙂 In this taxon the irredescent green colour comes from layers of dusting, rather than the usual duller, green-coloured pigments found in European genera, such as Gymnocheta and Lucilia. It is worth noting that days after this photo was ...

Second batch of flies arrives!!

I have just received the second, long awaited batch of flies from Jean Cerda in French Guiana. Six tubes of mixed familes, all collected between October 2008 and March 2009 in Jean’s Malaise trap. At first glance they are not a lot of tachinids but there are some very interesting taxa that I haven’t seen ...

fg-taxon #70

fg-taxon #70
A large brown taxon with: plumose antennae; bare eyes; slightly protruding mouth edge; brown thorax and abdomen with ornge side patches; wing with rounded bend in median vein and an unusual costal shading pattern – orange in the proximal half; brown in the distal half; legs with an interesting colour pattern too – orange coxae ...

fg-taxon #69 (Billaea group)

fg-taxon #69 (Billaea group)
A large taxon that looks quite sarcophaga-like with: pluomse antennae; bare eyes; wide parafacial; no parafacial bristles and parafrontal restricted to the top of the head; some fine hairs below parafrontals; protruding mouth edge with a few fine bristles on lower facial ridge; rhomboid humeral callus bristles; on the thorax 3 wide vittae + 2 ...

fg-taxon #68

fg-taxon #68
A small dark taxon with plumose arista and hairy eyes; facial ridges with varying numbers of bristles – females with much weaker bristles than males; pre-sutural area dusted but hardly any dusting post-suturally; eyes of male almost touching; bend of m closer to wing margin than rest of the post-angular vein; 3 scutellar pairs – ...

fg-taxon #67 (Hypotachina chrysophora)

fg-taxon #67 (Hypotachina chrysophora)
A really interesting tachinid with a very deep gena (2.5x); bare arista; densely hairy eyes; thorax white dusted with 2 pairs of black vittae; 3 very strong scutellar bristles – apicals possibly absent; abdominal dusting all over T3-5 with a pair of black undusted triangles on each segment; calyptrae with long white hairs on the ...

fg-taxon #64

(pictures to follow) This is another small black & grey-dusted species but with a few quite distictive features: hairy arista; bare eyes; strong facial-ridge bristles between 2/5 and 1/2 of the way up from the vibrissae to the base of the antennae; ocellar triangle is a short/compressed isosceles triangle; small diverging apical scutellars; excavation only ...

French Guiana 1

French Guiana
In 2000 I was lucky enough to visit French Guiana with a few entomological friends. The experience was fantastic and left me with many happy memories. You can read more about the trip here but this article is primarily about the country and why it is so good for entomologists.

fg-taxon #63 (close to Borgmeiermyia sp.)

(photographs to follow) At first glance just a small, black & grey-dusted tachinid but this taxon has hidden depth. The most distinctive feature when sorting is the orange coxae on all legs – a quite unusual feature. The male genitalia are also quite easy to spot, being quite rounded & hairy often with some orange-colouration. ...

fg-taxon #62 (Pseudochaeta sp.)

fg-taxon #62 (Pseudochaeta sp.)
This is one of my favourite tachinids – an absolute beauty. The photos don’t do it justice but this taxon is incredibly shiny and deep black in colour with silvery-grey dusting on the parafacial, pleurae and anterior corners of tergites 3-5. The head is very rounded with no ocellar bristles and a deep facial concavity ...

fg-taxon #57 (poss. Deopalpus sp.)

fg-taxon #57 (poss. Deopalpus sp.)
An interesting taxon with bare eyes, bare arista, hairy r4+5 and a hugely concave post-angular vein with a quite large appendix. Also has other distinctive features, such as a hairy parafacial, humeral-callus triangle, projecting mouth edge and quite a shiny black ground colour. EDIT (Monty Wood 26/9/2010): This is most likely a Deopalpus sp. but ...

fg-taxon #56

fg-taxon #56
This is another taxon with plumose antenna and a deep gena. This specimen isn’t in great condition but there is another with better wings and otherwise is absolutely identical to this specimen.

fg-taxon #55 (unknown dexiine)

fg-taxon #55 (unknown dexiine)
This is a nice little brightly-marked taxon with bright orange abdominal side patches, contrasting with a dark black body colour; shaded wings; small orange antenna with a plumose arista; and quite a deep gena. Unfortunately my only specimen is not in the best of condition. EDIT (Monty Wood 26/9/2010): This is an unknown genus in ...

fg-taxon #54 (Phosocephala sp.)

fg-taxon #54 (Phosocephala sp.)
This distinctive little tachinid really is beautiful, though the photos probably don’t do it justice. The thorax is dark and shiny with a slight purplish-blue sheen and yellow dusting anteriorly. The abdomen is shiny and very dark red-brown with faint grey dusting on tergite 3. The legs are all orange with 2 extremely large ad ...

How I take my specimen photos 2

How I take my specimen photos
I don’t claim to be able to produce great macro photos of specimens but a few people have asked me how I do it. Here’s a quick run-through – feel free to add comments and share your own experiences.

Rare tachinids at the OUM

Rare tachinids at the OUM
I feel very lucky and privilaged to live close to and have the support of Oxford University Museum (OUM). Friends at the museum have allowed me to use the excellent Hope Entomological Collection on numerous occasions and in return I have tried to help a little by determining a few of their unidentified specimens.

fg-taxon #51 (Telothyria sp.) 2

fg-taxon #51 (Telothyria sp.)
A light brown tachinid with a slight similarity (in my eyes) to the sarcophagid subfamily Miltogramminae … and yes, it does have a strong subscutellum! 😉 EDIT (Monty Wood 26/9/2010): This is another Telothyria sp. – see also here. They all have branched hairs on the pleurae.

fg-taxon #26

fg-taxon #26
This is an elegant, slim tachinid – at first appearing very average but on closer inspection quite distinctive.

fg-taxon #24 (Cryptomeigenia sp.) 2

fg-taxon #24 (Cryptomeigenia sp.)
This taxon is a fairly common, brown and quite boring-looking “species” but it seems quite distinctive, nonetheless. I have found it in good numbers and the basic morphology seems to be quite stable. EDIT (Monty Wood 26/9/2010): These are all Cryptomeigenia sp. – a genus that often comes to light traps.

fg-taxon #13 (Myothyriopsis sp.)

fg-taxon #13 (Myothyriopsis sp.)
This is a really pretty little tachinid with shaded wings and well-dusted thorax. EDIT (Monty Wood 26/9/2010): This is a Myothyriopsis sp. – parasitoids of Heliconius butterflies.