A picture from members photo gallery

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 ...

Take a look at our new flier on ... flies!

Watch our new video for more about the Dipterist's Forum

Flies are fascinating: Dipterists forum from NINA CONSTABLE MEDIA on Vimeo.

Annual Meeting and AGM 25-26 November 2017

I've updated the programme that I posted 17 July. This is under "Forums / News / Annual Meeting and AGM 25-26 November 2017", under the 'last post' date 2017-07-17.

This also updates the programme in the autumn Bulletin as that version was sent to the editor in July.

Posted by Martin Drake | Replies: 0 | Date Posted: 2017-10-13

Bulletin of Dipterists Forum

The Autumn edition will be distributed shortly - but only to those who are up to date with membership subscriptions. If you are not sure if you have paid for 2017 please contact me.

Membership runs from 1st January to 31st December each year.

Posted by JohnShowers | Replies: 0 | Date Posted: 2017-10-06

Diptera Workshop 2018

Difficult Larger Brachycera and Anthomyiidae
Preston Montford Field Centre
16 - 18 February 2018
Tutored by Martin Harvey, Howard Bentley and Philip Brighton
Details on Field Studies Council website: http://www.field-studies-council.org/prestonmontford from mid October (search in Courses, then Individuals & Families, then Natural History)

Our two courses in 2018 cover the more tricky species of 'larger' Brachycera and the long-overlooked Anthomyiidae (flower flies). While many of the soldierflies and allies can be identified correctly with few problems using Stubbs & Drake (British soldierflies and their allies), there are still some awkward families that are not easy to identify correctly and consequently generate dubious records. Prime offenders are horseflies and stiletto-flies, but even apparently 'easy' families sometimes need more care, for example, some robberflies and bee-flies. Martin Harvey, national recorder for the Soldierflies and Allies Recording Scheme and an experienced tutor, will lead this course, and Judy Webb will provide a session on larvae of a few families.

At the other end of the popularity spectrum are anthomyiids. It is a moderately large calyptrate family of about 240 species of mainly black bristly flies. They have been ignored as too difficult, despite including some of the commonest and abundant large flies, but recently are experiencing a rise in interest as Michael Ackland has produced keys, detailed notes on identification, biology and, best of all, a full set of superb illustrations that make anthomyiids as easy as moths. The analogy with moths is apt since the quickest way to reach an identification is to look through the drawings for a match, since keys become cumbersome as the taxonomic characters don't lend themselves to obvious key dichotomies. Leaf-mining larvae predominate but the remainder have a wide range of ecologies with larvae in decaying vegetable material, fungi and dung, while one genus is a kleptoparasite of solitary bees. The adults often live up to their name of flower flies, making them easy to target in the field. For those who have dabbled with this family, a new approach to identification will give an additional boost, under the guidance of Howard Bentley and Phil Brighton.

As usual, handouts will be provided. For both courses, information will be provided on species distributions and habitats, and suggestions made for some targeted recording to improve our knowledge of these groups.

Arrive on Friday evening in time for dinner, and leave on Sunday afternoon. More precise information will be put on the website.

The Dipterists Forum is offering bursaries for up to two places at half price on the Preston Montford course. If you would like to take up this offer please apply by e-mail to the chairman, Rob Wolton, robertwolton@yahoo.co.uk, giving your reasons for applying and saying why you wish to attend the meeting. Applicants must be members of the Forum. Applications should reach Rob not later than mid December.

If you would like to attend, check the FSC website or contact Preston Montford directly. Bookings usually open in October. The cost of the course will be £290 for a single room, £265 for a shared room and £210 for non-residents. Dipterists Forum members get a £95 discount on these prices (which are then respectively £195, £170 and £115). If you do not bring your own microscope, one can be provided by the field centre but do please book with Preston Montford if you need one.

Posted by Martin Drake | Replies: 0 | Date Posted: 2017-09-17

Alan Stubbs gets an award

Changes of Address

Please remember to inform the Membership Secretary if you are changing your address. We have had two copies of the latest Dipterists Digest returned for being unknown at the address we have on file.

Please could the fllowing contact me with their new address?
S.J. Thomas
C. D. Farmer

Posted by JohnShowers | Replies: 0 | Date Posted: 2017-09-08

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