Wednesday, 8 May 2019

The X-Flies

I made a poor judgement call this morning. The forecast said northerly winds and rain, so I didn't bother bringing my net out to play. Typically, the weather stayed sunny and dry throughout my time spent in the field and, in the more sheltered spots, was moderately warmish too. Naturally, there were flies basking absolutely everywhere, even landing on my face at times. They're so bloody brave when I don't have my net with me. But I did have my camera! By now you should be used to my rubbishy pics, today's offerings are no different. 

I've managed to name some of these, but there are others I have no clue as to their identity. And just try catching flies without a net. If anybody wants to suggest some IDs that would be just great. 

 Firstly, the ones I do know (or think I know...)

Mesembrina meridiana, a large muscid. I added this to the Skye list in 2017
Xylota segnis - a hoverfly. Note the large, well-spaced bristles running the length of the hind femur
Bibio leucoptera - a male with its enlarged eyes and milky white wing membrane
Eristalis pertinax - a male with the enlarged eyes and very tapered abdomen. First two pairs of legs have pale tarsi
Portevinia maculata - a female (well separated eyes), I don't often find the elusive females
Portevinia maculata - a male, characteristically holding wings in delta-fashion and perched on a Ramsons leaf
Tipula vittata - a pair in cop.  This is a LIFER for me!!! 
Tipula vittata - the smaller male. Note their 'locked on' genitalia! 

The following images are of flies that I haven't been able to identify just yet - and without specimens I probably never will. But, like I said, suggestions most welcome!

No idea, possibly a Fannia???
edit - Hydrophoria sp (Anthomyiidae) but needs gen detting - cheers Ali! 

Not sure, I think probably Fannia

A rather rotund muscid. Plenty of these sunning themselves today, I'll have to go back with a net soon
edit - Muscina prolapsa (pubulorum) - cheers again Ali! 

Stunning hoverfly, probably a Cheilosia of some sort or another
edit - Ali agrees, need a specimen though to get to species

I had thought female Eudasyphora cyanicolor, but vein M1 seems far too angled?
edit - Calliphoridae, not Muscidae, check that M1 angle! Cheers Ali. 

I did manage to sneak a tube over a Helophilus pendulus and a Syrphus which will probably be vitripennis - just setting it now with a wing splayed out so I can properly examine the microtrichia in certain basal cells. As you do. (Later...yep, it was Syrphus vitripennis with areas of wing cells bare of microtrichia).

In non-fly news, there's a male Sedge Warbler taken up residency in the reedbed at the top of the shore, though it's in poor voice. Not much in the way of whistles and squeaks, just a lot of chatter and repetition. I pished it in just to double-check, yep it's definitely a Sedge Warbler alright. There was a Reed Warbler recorded on BirdTrack from here a couple of days back, that's a damn fine bird in this part of the world (just one previous record of a bird trapped and ringed in 2004!) so I suspect it was an unsuspecting visiting birder who strung the Sedge for a Reed, though I'd be delighted to be proven wrong. Plus I have now decent gen on the local Corncrake too. Turns out it's definitely outside the boundaries of my square. Arse. 

Any excuse to play this track is gladly taken...


  1. First after tipula is a Hydrophoria sp. (Anthomyiidae), but needs gen det. Then dunno, then Muscina pabulorum (check out the wing venation against google images). Your Cheilosia appears to have a dark band across the thorax between wing bases making it maybe fraterna, but worth sticking onto fb or iRecord to get it confirmed. I'd rather see more obv yellow on the legs but it may be dark or not easy to see. The last is a Calliphorid? Ask Olga on the fb calliphorid page?

  2. Cheers buddy, you're a star! Plenty of those Cheilosia out there, I'll take my trusty net next time and nail it. So to speak.

    1. I've had fraterna, proxima, nebulosa and pagana of late. pagana sticks out like a sore thumb with its big, round, orange antennae.