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The Society for the study of flies (Diptera)

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#1 2012-01-07 02:03:51

Grant Burleigh
Registered user
Name: Array Array
Registered: 2010-06-29
Posts: 337

Focussed fly

I saw this little fly today (06/01/12) on an ivy leaf, presumably in the process of drinking from droplets of surface water. The head repeatedly bobbed up and down. The fly continued in this vein - ignoring my presence, - over the next 14 minutes when I moved away. After a gap of about 20 minutes, I returned to see if it was still there. There was a fly (2) on a leaf very close by but I was only able to obtain one image of it before it flew off. It looks morphologically rather different*.
I should be grateful for any comments regarding ID.
* “Fly2” also seems lighter in colour, but this feature has to be invoked with some caution as the camera image was probably obtained at a higher ISO sensitivity value,


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#2 2012-01-07 04:33:19

falky
Registered user
Name: Steven Falk
From: Kenilworth
Registered: 2009-11-30
Posts: 410

Re: Focussed fly

Grant,

I think Fly 1 is Opetia nigra, a rather elusive and strange creature related to platypezids. I sweep it occasionally in woodland (esp damp birch woodland) but would never have though it would fly mid-winter, so thanks for enlightening us! (I can't imagine many others have photographed it)

Falky

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#3 2012-01-07 13:52:04

Tony Irwin
DF Members
Name: Tony Irwin
From: Norwich
Registered: 2008-03-01
Posts: 625

Re: Focussed fly

Fly no. 2 appears to be a mycetophilid.

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#4 2012-01-07 14:37:00

Grant Burleigh
Registered user
Name: Array Array
Registered: 2010-06-29
Posts: 337

Re: Focussed fly

Thanks for the replies. We have platypezids and some birches on the site.

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#5 2012-01-07 23:18:17

Grant Burleigh
Registered user
Name: Array Array
Registered: 2010-06-29
Posts: 337

Re: Focussed fly

I am wondering if surface tension of the water here tends to loosen fungal hyphae from the leaf surface so that a fly can more easily feed on them.

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#6 2012-01-11 01:29:50

Judy Webb
Committee
Name: Judith Webb
Registered: 2008-02-21
Posts: 411

Re: Focussed fly

could those droplets have been nectar or honeydew rather than water?
Judy

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#7 2012-01-11 02:11:53

Grant Burleigh
Registered user
Name: Array Array
Registered: 2010-06-29
Posts: 337

Re: Focussed fly

Possibly. I complicated the issue next day by going along to the same spot and observing this male hoverfly lapping up material from a leaf surface. It wasn't moving fast, perhaps because it was low on energy at this time of year. Ideas welcome re ID.


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