The Diptera ("di-ptera" = two-winged) or "true flies" is the largest order of animals in the UK with around 7,000 known species and new ones being discovered every year. They are found in all habitats from the sea shore to mountain tops. Whilst some are agricultural pests or vectors of disease, the great majority are beneficial. They are extremely important as predators on other pests and diseases, as pollinators, as food for other animals and the immature stages of the bulk of the species are involved in the decay of organic matter and the recycling of material back into the soil.
Entomologists who specialise in these insects are "dipterists". In 1993, a group of people who wanted to find out more about every aspect of their lives, including the habitats they require, set up the Dipterists Forum. There is a great deal still to learn about flies. Mapping the distribution of some groups is a major achievement of the Dipterists Forum to date, but the immature stages of the majority of species are still unknown. Many species are becoming increasingly rare as a result of habitat loss and climate change.
Why not join the Dipterists Forum and help us find out more about flies? There is so much still to learn; we welcome beginners and there are always people who can help you out in the early stages. You donít need to be an expert, or even to leave your own garden, to contribute to our knowledge of these fascinating insects. Flies need your help! Read more ...
Spring Field Meeting - Rockingham Forest 17-19 May
I have had relatively few people let me know that they were intending to attend this meeting.
If you are thinking of attending please would you let me know in advance, as the meeting points are simply for assembling the group and commencing the day.
I can be contacted on
roger dot morris at dsl dot pipex dot com
Britain's Hoverflies - WildGuide
The new hoverfly WildGuide has been printed and is on its way to the UK by boat from the printers in Singapore. Delivery expected on 5th March - so it should go on sale shortly after that. The RRP is £24.95, but there are various pre-publication offers if you search on Google (e.g. NHBS http://www.nhbs.com/britains_hoverflies … 85594.html).
WildGuides have received a few copies by arimail and forwarded one to Roger and I. They have done a very nice job. Reproduction and colour is very good.
Seth Irish has contacted me and asked me to put what follows onto the website.
The University of Durham is looking for a Ph.D. student to undertake research into the possible involvement of Musca autumnalis in the transmission of bovine tuberculosis. These are the details:
Advert for FindAPhD.com
1. Title, name, email address of 1st Supervisor
Professor Steve Lindsay, S.W.Lindsay@durham.ac.uk
2. Title, name, email address of 2nd Supervisor
Dr Philip Stephens, Philip.Stephens@durham.ac.uk
3. Funding Status (Choose from list Ė see attached key for descriptions)
Awaiting Funding Decision
4. Application deadline or applications accepted all year round
6th Feb 2013
Can face flies, Musca autumnalis, transmit tuberculosis from badgers to cattle?
5. Project description
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is an infectious disease of considerable economic and social importance in the UK where its control has cost the taxpayer £500m over the past decade. Currently, control is targeted at culling badgers. Badger-to-cattle transmission of the bovine tuberculosis (bTB) agent Mycobacterium bovis remains poorly understood. We hypothesize that the cattle face fly, Musca autumnalis, may vector M. bovis, from infected-badger faeces directly to cattle, since the flies are common where bTB occurs, they land frequently on the nostrils and mouths of cattle and are attracted to badger faeces. We propose to explore this relationship by carrying out field and laboratory research to investigate the dynamics of possible transmission.
6. Funding Notes (max 100 words)
This project is in competition with others for funding. Success will depend on the quality of applications received, relative to those for competing projects. If you are interested in applying, in the first instance contact the supervisor, with a CV and covering letter, detailing your reasons for applying for the project.
Anyone interested is invited to contact Professor Lindsay.
Hoverfly improvers course
I have finally got a provisional date for this course.
It will be at Cardiff Museum on Saturday 13 and 14 April 2013. The class size will be limited to 12.
Several people have already expressed interest and so we have the nucleus of a group. Places will be available on a fist-come-first served basis and will be secured by a fee (yet to be confirmed) payable to Dipterists Forum.
Please let me know if you are interested.
Diptera training in 2013 (FSC Biodiversity Fellows)
During 2013 we are offering some free and discounted training to dipterists as part of the FSC Biodiversity Fellows project (Defra fund for biodiversity in the voluntary sector).
UPDATE AS OF 10/05/13
PLEASE NOTE - THESE EVENTS ARE ALL FULLY BOOKED so I've removed them from this post. Many thanks to everyone who has booked on them or contacted me about them