My first stacks 7

My first stacks
Yesterday Malcolm Storey (bioimages.org.uk) brought over some new equipment he had just bought for photo-stacking, along with a ‘kit’ including a spare dSLR (3MP Nikon D100) and macro lenses. The real star of the equipment is Malcolm’s new StackShot – an automated system for racking a camera through pre-defined focus points and taking the photos ...

Last year’s tachinids all identified – finally! 1

Last year's tachinids all identified - finally!
I have finally finished going through the tachinids that I caught last year and putting names to them. It wasn’t as hard as it might seem because most of them were common species that I am very familiar with but it was still quite time consuming: The top box is full of tachinids, with a ...

pe-taxon #32 (Peru)

pe-taxon #32 (Peru)
This is a lovely little taxon, with matt-black ground colour and bright pale-grey bands of dusting on the thorax and abdomen. It fails to achieve a convincing result in MCAD.

possibly Hyphantrophaga sp. (Peru)

possibly Hyphantrophaga sp. (Peru)
This keys to Hyphantrophaga sp. but it needs confirming. EDIT (6/01/2011): Monty has said that this genus is quite anonymous and difficult to split … but they sometimes have hairs on the hind coxa (like Carcelia) and one of my 2 specimens does have this feature so I am tentatively assigning them to Hyphantrophaga.

3x Mystacella sp. (Peru)

3x Mystacella sp. (Peru)
These photos illustrate 3 species of Mystacella – a tachinid that, like Chrysoexorista, is a beautiful metallic green (sometimes across the whole body, but at the very least on the thorax) in life but this fades to golden brown when dead. Mystacella have the vibrissae emerging quite high above the mouth edge and a very ...

Austrophorocera cf. yahuarphrynoides (Townsend) (French Guiana)

Austrophorocera cf. yahuarphrynoides (Townsend) (French Guiana)
This one keys out nicely to Austrophorocera but this determination will need confirming. The abdomen has a fascinating and highly distinctive tuft of orange hair on the genitalia. EDIT (5/01/2011): Monty has confirmed this genus and said that the tuft of hairs looks like A. yahuarphrynoides (Townsend) but there are apparently a few similar species.

Finnish tachinids 2010

Finnish tachinids 2010
A week ago I received a really nice parcel of tachinids from Jari Flinck in Finland and today I had time to sort over them for the first time and take some photos. Here is the list so far: Billaea kolomyetzi (a male and 2 females – very nice), Campylocheta inepta, Tachina fera, Cylindromyia spp. (brassicaria, pusilla & ...

Calolydella geminata complex (Costa Rica)

Calolydella geminata complex (Costa Rica)
Adrian Pont gave me this rather beautiful Costa Rican tachinid recently and it instantly reminded me of the Eucelatoria sp. that I had been working on from Bolivia and French Guiana. The deep matt velvety black contrasting with the yellow dusting stripes, combined with the elongate body and legs are all quite distinctive features. When ...

Atactosturmia ??? (Surinam)

Atactosturmia ??? (Surinam)
Yet another fly that keys to Atactosturmia … would be nice one day to know which of them really are Atactosturmia 😉

Icelia (Ervia?) sp. (Surinam)

Icelia (Ervia?) sp. (Surinam)
An interesting species that superficially looked similar to the Uramya from the same batch but this has bare eyes. EDIT (26/11/2010): Monty Wood says that this looks correct as Icelia but that Ervia is a close sister genus – possibly even the same thing when all is said and done.

Various interesting Polideini (Surinam)

Various interesting Polideini (Surinam)
The Polideini is becoming one of my favourite tribes because they have such unusual features. Most tachinids have a disc-like, hairy lappet covering the metathoracic spiracle (the hind one on the thorax) but the Polideini all have paired hairy lappets that don’t quite meet at the top, leaving a little hole. They also have a ...

close to Spathidexia (Gymnopalpus) setipennis (Surinam)

close to Spathidexia (Gymnopalpus) setipennis (Surinam)
This one keys quite confidently to Uramya sp. but it is a female so it lacks any tails that might confirm the determination. EDIT (26/11/2010): Monty has said that this is incorrect – it looks closer to Spathidexia and is possibly Spathidexia (Gymnopalpus) setipennis.

Pseudosiphona sp. (Surinam)

Pseudosiphona sp. (Surinam)
Pseudosiphona is a very common genus in the neotropics – in these photos you can see the small labellum (much shorter than in Siphona) and the katepisternal bristle arrangement (with the strong lower bristle close to the posteroventral edge) typical of this genus.

Pelecotheca s.g. Cryptocladocera (male) (Surinam)

Pelecotheca s.g. Cryptocladocera (male) (Surinam)
The Surinamese batch of flies from Menno yielded quite a lot of male Cryptocladocera – here are just 2.

Acaulona or Xanthomelanopsis ??? (French Guiana & Surinam)

Acaulona or Xanthomelanopsis ??? (French Guiana & Surinam)
Acaulona & Xanthomelanopsis look very similar to Pennapoda spp. but without the leaf-like antero-dorsal bristles on the hind tibia. The only difficulty with these flies is that I just can’t make up my mind whether they have enough dorsocentrals to qualify as Xanthomelanopsis.

Copecrypta sp. (Surinam)

Copecrypta sp. (Surinam)
This is the first of a batch of flies sent to me by Menno Reemer and caught by him in Surinam in 2006. Copecrypta (and the allied genera Deopalpus & Itacuphocera) are some of my favourites. They all have an interesting ant- or beetle-shaped abdomen.

An amazing series of photo by Paul Bertner from the forests of Guyana

An amazing series of photo by Paul Bertner from the forests of Guyana
Paul is a wildlife photographer and adventurer who contacted me a few months ago for tips on how to do serious entomology in the tropics for a trip he was planning. Paul is now trekking through Guyana with his backpack, cameras and laptop, taking photos of the wildlife he sees on his travels. He also reports ...

Stacking #2 2

Stacking #2
Here is Dave’s latest version of the Pelecotheca (Cryptocladocera) male – looking even better. To see Dave’s other photos click here.

close to Prosenoides (French Guiana)

close to Prosenoides (French Guiana)
Last night I went through a tray of tachinids with a plumose arista and was amazed to see this fly with an incredibly long, straight proboscis, which I must have overlooked countless times.

Spathidexia sp. (French Guiana)

Spathidexia sp. (French Guiana)
This specimen keys quite easily to Polygaster – it has the anterior katepisternal bristle ventral to the pleural suture and it has the trapezoidal scutellum with crossed apical bristles enclosed within crossed subapicals/laterals. But it differs from the description in Monty’s key by having a bare r1 and cu vein and hairs only on r4+5. ...