Fly genitalia stacks 1

Fly genitalia stacks
Here are a few stacks of various fly genitalia – taken at 4x magnification using the Schneider Componon 35mm f4 lens.

Some Neotropical Siphonini

Some Neotropical Siphonini
Today I went through some of the specimens in my World collection that had been labelled under the siphonine genera (Actia, Borgmeiermyia, Ceromya, Pseudosiphona etc.). Here are some photos: The Erythomelana is only “possibly” at the moment … it keys to that but I have never seen the genus so I have asked Monty Wood ...

A stalk-eyed fly (Diopsidae)

A stalk-eyed fly (Diopsidae)
Here is a stalk-eyed fly from Western Malaysia, taken at about 3x magnification. The equipment was Canon 1000D + Schneider Componon 35mm f4 lens reversed on bellows racked to 50mm. This is a 19-photo stack processed in Zerene Stacker (PMax method) and then in PhotoShop. The eyes on this fly are about 4mm apart and ...

A few ultra-close shots of tiny tachinids! 2

A few ultra-close shots of tiny tachinids!
It’s not often that you get this close to the very rare and tiny Microsoma exiguum (3mm), Cinochira atra (2mm) & Catharosia pygmaea (4-5mm). I have been playing around with a Schneider Componon 35mm f4 lens – a new acquisition from eBay for £16 posted. When reversed on bellows and racked out to about 90mm ...

Some more stacking … 1

Some more stacking ...
Here are a few Pelecotheca (Cryptocladocera) sp. stacks. The technique involves taking about 30 photos, each at a different focal point in the specimen and using a macro-rail to slowly move the camera backwards or forwards. The focused parts of each photo are then combined using software called Zerene Stacker (Pmax setting) to make the ...

Science Uncovered!

Science Uncovered!
Last Friday I had the pleasure of helping out at the Natural History Museum’s yearly “Science Uncovered” event. For one evening the museum opens its doors until late into the night and scientists that normally work behind the scenes come out to show the public what their work is all about. On our stand (“Taxonomy ...

Swyncombe Down

Swyncombe Down
Just a few photos from a quick “recon” visit to Swyncombe Down with Rod d’Ayala, ahead of our guided walk for the Reading & District Nat.Hist.Soc. on Sunday 18th (14:00). The weather was lovely and luckily I bumped into a very interesting chap who was there to repair some horse jumps ahead of their cross-country ...

Eggardon Hill

Eggardon Hill
Eggardon Hill is an ancient hill-fort, owned by the National Trust, south of Powerstock Common on the back-road from Beaminster to Bridport. Besides having the best views in the county it is an excellent place to see butterflies and downland flora & fauna. We saw Wall Brown in good numbers, along with lots of Small ...

Beaminster & West Bexington

Beaminster & West Bexington
The day started well when I saw a lovely Gold-ringed Dragonfly in the garden in Beaminster. They are a very rare species away from their normal haunts (Scotland, Wales & the West Country) and I had never seen one before. Later, at West Bexington, we managed to chalk-up quite a list of butterflies (Small Tortoishell, ...

A great day in Cholsey

A great day in Cholsey
Tony’s meadow in Cholsey has been a survey site for the Hornet Robberfly (Asilus crabroniformis) because it is the center of a thriving population and he has been monitoring them himself for many years. Today I went over there with my friend Carim, who had traveled out from London specially to see Asilus. The weather was a ...

Some interesting flies from Paraguay

Some interesting flies from Paraguay
Today I received a small parcel of Diptera from Ulf in Paraguay – many thanks Ulf! 🙂  In the mix were lots of different families but he had sorted out mainly the calyptrates for me … with an emphasis on the tachinids, of course. Here are the first specimens from the parcel – 2 Tachinini ...

Trichophora (Diaphanomyia) aurifacies, Desvoidy

Trichophora (Diaphanomyia) aurifacies, Desvoidy
In this post I showed a species of Trichophora determined by Monty Wood. During a visit to the BMNH I discovered that there were no similar Trichophora spp. in their collection but in the same drawer I found Diaphanomyia aurifacies, which seems a very good fit … and this is obviously closely related to Trichophora. ...

Jurinia notata, Bigot (Bolivia)

Jurinia notata, Bigot (Bolivia)
In this post I showed a Jurinia sp. from Bolivia, determined by Monty Wood. During a visit to the BMNH I discovered a species called Jurinia notata, Bigot (holotype in the collection). Here are some photos of the BMNH material, including the holotype (sadly not in good condition) and an additional specimen. * specimen photos ...

Archytas aurifrons, Townsend

Archytas aurifrons, Townsend
Last week I spent a happy afternoon at the BMNH, courtesy of Erica & Nigel in the Diptera department. I decided to concentrate on a few genera and try to identify a few neotropical specimens. My first was Archytas, a large genus with many very similar species, because I have a few quite atypical taxa ...

Moor Copse & Pamber Forest

Moor Copse & Pamber Forest
Today was an absolutely glorious 28C and sunny (without a gale-force wind!) so I headed out for Moor Copse to see what I could find. I set off along the river bank accompanied by a chorus of 100s of Roesel’s Bush-cricket coming from the long grass. I soon saw Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Scarlet Tiger (sitting ...

Scarlet Tigers

Scarlet Tigers
The Scarlet Tiger is a very local species of moth, found mainly in the southern England. Normally I find them on Moor Copse, a nearby nature reserve with a small river running through it, but occasionally they do roam further afield (or perhaps get blown?) and this year I have seen one twice in my ...

More stacks

More stacks
Here are a few stacks of European tachinids make by Dave Dare the other day. The specimens are all on loan from the NHML (Armenian specimens) and ZMMU (Russian & Azerbaijani specimens) so I was keen to record some of the more interesting/rare things before either sending them back or passing them on to other ...

A really puzzling black tachinid

A really puzzling black tachinid
This weekend I have been having another look at the Armenian and Russian samples and hit the same problem … a really puzzling but very distinctive tachinid that just won’t key confidently. They bear a passing resemblance to Loewia sp. because they are shiny black with short antennae that are mounted on the face level ...

Cogden by the sea 3

Cogden by the sea
(updated, now that I have seen the specimens under a microscope! ;)) Today’s jaunt was to Cogden beach (Dorset, SY502881) to pick up a bit of the sea air and have a look at the coastal flora. We got out early to get into the carpark before it filled up and headed down to the path ...

Hooke Park ramble 1

Hooke Park ramble
Today we went for a ramble through Hooke Park, a lovely piece of mixed woodland with wide rides and open, cleared areas. There’s everything from patches of Leyland Cyprus to open Beech woodland with carpets of Bluebells. The temperature was about 25C so everything was buzzing and the trees were surrounded by clouds of Bibio ...