Affiliated to the British Entomological and Natural History Society (BENHS)
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Robberflies, bee flies, soldierflies, horseflies and their allies are included in this scheme (Acroceridae, Asilidae, Athericidae, Bombyliidae, Rhagionidae, Scenopinidae, Stratiomyidae, Tabanidae, Therevidae, Xylomyidae and Xylophagidae), a total of 162 species.
They are for the most part large and attractive species and a logical next step after hoverflies. Ecologically they are important, with one of the highest percentages of Red Data Book and Notable species of any insect group. These flies are ideal if you like species with interesting behaviour or if you enjoy searching for larvae.
An illustrated identification guide "British Soldierflies and their allies" (Stubbs & Drake, 2001), including keys to both adults and larvae, makes most of these flies suitable for the beginner. The scheme has also published a provisional atlas (Drake, 1991) although it covers only selected species. The scheme is working towards another atlas with greater coverage.
Martin Harvey can help get specimens checked, please contact him for details. For help with photos please use this forum or http://www.ispot.org.uk/
Organiser: Martin Harvey, with help from an advisory group within Dipterists Forum. email: email@example.com
Last edited by KenMerrifield (2012-06-19 16:20:33)
As detailed above, I now have the privilege of running the Larger Brachycera recording scheme, and I'm really looking forward to getting to know this group of flies better, and making contact with all those of you who are interested in recording them.
I'm not a particular expert on the Larger Brachycera, and I'll drawing on the expertise of other DF members to help with various aspects of the scheme. An 'advisory panel' is being established to provide additional expertise - this currently includes David Gibbs (who has a particular interest in the Bombyliidae), Andrew Grayson (Tabanidae), and Malcolm Smart (Asilidae) - thanks to all of them. The previous organisers of the scheme (Tony Irwin, Martin Drake, Simon Hayhow) are also on hand to help, and Simon is continuing his involvement in working towards a new atlas.
At the moment (June 2012) I am starting to plan for collating new records and setting up a scheme website, with the help of the Biological Records Centre. It will be a few months before this is all ready to go, so please donít rush to send in lots of records just yet! But I hope to have the new systems in place during autumn 2012.
BENHS aim to have the second edition of "British Soldierflies and their allies" (Stubbs and Drake) available in the autumn as well, and we are planning a BENHS training workshop on this group of flies in spring 2013, so keep an eye on the DF Bulletin, and this forum, for further news.
Many thanks to Simon Hayhow for his work in running the scheme in recent years. This is a fascinating group of flies and I hope we can continue to add to our knowledge of them, and encourage new people to take an interest in them.
Great news Martin and sincere thanks for taking this task on. Not a task to be taken lightly. I look forward to the new website and will try to get my last few years of records on a spreadsheet in anticipation of a call for records.
It's good news that the Stubbs and Drake book is to be re-issued. Without it I am limited as to what "larger brachycera" I can identify.
When I can get a confident ID, I am submitting the records to our local records centre in Cheshire (www.record-lrc.co.uk). Do these such records get through to you via the NBN?
The same applies to craneflies for which I have more records thanks to the existing keys, though I'm looking forward to the book on those too.
In theory it is possible that I might be able to download the records from NBN, or ask for them to be sent directly from the Cheshire centre, but in practice the records are likely to get into the recording scheme more quickly if you don't mind copying them direct to me. But as I said above, there's no hurry at the moment, perhaps at the end of the year?
There were lots of soldierflies in a new (largely native) woodland on the edge of Kirkwall, Orkney (Muddisdale Plantation) on Saturday. I caught one and the excellent Stubbs & Drake key took me very quickly to Beris chalybata (a female). I will submit the record to the local Orkney Biodiversity Records Centre, but I am not sure if it will get on to your scheme. The NBN Gateway map shows no records from Orkney (although Pete Kirby was up here for a week in 2011 and I'd imagine he got records of all sorts) - is this a new VC record? Does anyone need a voucher specimen?
Thanks for this Julian.
I don't have any records of Beris chalybata from Orkney, although there is a reasonable scattering of this species through Scotland as far north as VC106, Highland. In fact, as things stand the recording scheme database has only one record for Orkney, of the cleg Haematopotus pluvialis, in 1981! Having said that I have quite a lot of data waiting to be added to the database and I know there are at least a few Orkney records among that, including the Wood Snipefly (Rhagio annulatus) that was written up in last year's newsletter:
http://issuu.com/kitenet/docs/soldierfl … letter_1/2
I don't know if you live on Orkney or were visiting, but if you ever get a chance to look for more Wood Snipeflies it would be fascinating to know if there is a breeding population.
Regarding the specimen, in principle I do like to see a voucher for new vice-county records, and if you are willing to post one to me that would be great. A clear photo is another option, although it's not easy to distinguish chalybata from morrisii in photos unless you can show the male genitalia in close-up and ideally a view from side on to show the hairs on top of the thorax. I've no reason to doubt your ID though, if you've taken a specimen through the key (especially if it is a male) then it should be clear enough.
I'd be very grateful to receive the details of any records you can send in in due course. There are various options for sending them in, see:
but if it's just a few records then just putting the details in an email is fine.
Good newsletter (very smart, although I found it couldn't make it display bigger on my PC screen) - interesting Wood Snipefly was on top of Wideford Hill. I might have a look, if I can get a large enough of a white van to act as bait.
I will send you the specimen. I make it a female. Eyes a long way apart with nice big face. Specimen rather bashed about (I am heavy handed under the microscope). Matched well with the illustrations in the key, and the ID seemed (deceptively?) easy.
All the best, Julian
Just on the newsletters, you can also download a PDF version from:
http://www.brc.ac.uk/soldierflies-and-a … ewsletters