Determination by Monty Wood.
One of my favourite flies from my recent NHM visits is the amazingly marked Bibiomima handlirschi, a rare phasiine tachinid from Central & South America. This specimen was taken in the Panama Canal Zone in 1913.
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 on remounting and identifying the pantos, which had suffered a little in the Xmas post.
The identifications weren’t too difficult but the specimens were a bit greasy, which is a common problem with large-bodied insects and which can obscure valuable dusting features. Luckily the palpi and the ‘noses’ were intact and they provided some very useful secondary features. For instance, P.planiventris is a very dull and faintly marked species but it has a lovely pair of yellow, swollen-ended palps with pointed tips and a long ‘beak’ of a nose on the face. P.batesi also has a pointed ‘nose’ but luckily it has some quite distinct dark spots on the thorax. Lastly, P.argyropastus is a new species to me and has a quite distinctive protruding ‘nose’ with a rouded tip. Martin had showed me some lovely photos of a male in his collection that was almost entirely covered in silvery dusting. Sadly the new one is a female so it is much less well marked, with normal panto colours and some small silvery spots on the tergites.