Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Diptera new to Skye

Bit of a cop out, but here's the same crappy shot of a fly as posted in the previous blogpost, except I've lightened it up a bit and cropped it some more (which only serves to make it look even more garish than it already was...)

Mesembrina meridiana the Noon-fly
It's a truly awful image, and I can only apologise for thrusting it into your eyes for a second time. But there's a reason: Stephen Bungard (the BSBI plant recorder who visited to check the Mitella ovalis a short while ago as per this page) emailed Murdo MacDonald (dipterist and record collator for the Highland Biological Recording Group) a link to this blog. Murdo responded as follows:

That page you linked to has new dots for two species (assuming they are Uig), including the first Noon-fly for Skye!  His diptera list is a bit thin (and one ID is in need of confirmation), but if he is prepared to send pics and bodies will be hugely valuable.

So, Noon-fly is a shock addition to the Skye list! It's just crazy to discover that what is often a fairly commonplace species back down in the south of England is a significant find up here on Skye. I'm racking up a nice little tally of 'Firsts' for the island, plus with 600 species recorded from NG3963 there will be a fair few new dots on the maps too. It's all good stuff. 

I then emailed Murdo directly, we have now corresponded back and forth. My fly that required confirmation was Portevinia maculata, the Ramsons Hoverfly. Seeing as how large parts of my square are currently carpeted in Ramsons, I quite naturally fully expected to find its associated hoverfly. Which I have done, in two different areas.  Murdo, however, was less than convinced -

I notice you cite Portevinia on Skye, and I would be looking for some confirmation of that.  There are very few records in Scotland, and none anywhere near Skye.

Luckily I have the proof. This fly is also new to Skye (indeed it's new to Western Scotland!) Skye is so under-recorded it's almost too easy to make significant discoveries! Had I thought to check its known Scottish distribution (just 3 records in the East Highlands) I probably wouldn't have bothered trying to find it at all, so ignorance can be a good thing after all.

Portevinia maculata on it's hostplant in Uig Woods
In other news, a small patch of Groundsel and two new moffs for the square in recent days bring my 1000 Species in a 1KSQ Challenge tally to 578 species. Still a considerable amount of work to do, though I hope to hit 600 by the end of the month.
 
Common Carpet - netted in Uig Woods
Small Phoenix - landed on the house wall

8 comments:

  1. I really hope you like it where you are because finding these new species there is no way they will ever let you leave! It could become your own personal 'Hotel California'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just received an email from Murdo stating that my Portevinia maculata (Ramsons Hoverfly) would also new to Skye (new to Western Scotland in fact. It's a very rare species up here). He wanted to see some evidence, so I pinged him the pic that has already been seen and accepted by Roger Morris (hoverfly expert). That should do it ;)

      Delete
    2. My wife and I walked Land's End to John o'Groats 5 years ago for our honeymoon (in fact we hit St Austell on this day 5 years back). After that we stopped in a pub on the River Camel for "a quick snack" and ended up staying all afternoon, all evening, whupped everyone on the pool table, sang some songs into the night, got a lock-in and the landlord put us up in a 400yr old room for free! Brilliant place which we soon dubbed Hotel Camelfornia :)

      Delete
  2. Hmmm. I have no trouble finding Portevinia where Ramson's are in SE Scotland, which isn't to say they are naturally in Skye obviously. Noon fly - what a shocker! I better get up there with a net while there's something left! (Incidentally, the newest Hover field guide shows a wide distribution in Scotland, including bordering on Skye. I think something's gone amiss there)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it's deffo Portevinia you're finding in SE Scotland can you update the Hoverfly Recording Scheme, coz the map shows a big fat blank down that way https://species.nbnatlas.org/species/NBNSYS0000007009 I reckon we IKSQers are just better than everyone else...PAHAHAHAHAAAA! :D

      Delete
  3. ha! Look at the NBN atlas map for Mesembrina - that was a banker (https://species.nbnatlas.org/species/NBNSYS0000030713). Skye's even worse (better) than Fife!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a hitlist of microleps that are present on the nearby mainland yet (so far) unrecorded from Skye. Some are understandable (oak feeders, for example. Not much oak out here) but others are grass feeders, or sedge feeders, or are on widespread plants so should be here somewhere. Not sure there are any resident moffers here checking leafmines (apart from me)

      Delete
  4. Roger picks up all my syrphids from iRecord at the end of the year so they'll get there in the end, but the field guide already shows substantially bigger ranger than NBN indicates. I think it is using mapping algorithms that are used in other places by ... whoever it was that was using them :D (Stuart Ball?)

    ReplyDelete