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The Society for the study of flies (Diptera)

Affiliated to the British Entomological and Natural History Society (BENHS)

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#1 2017-09-17 13:52:43

Martin Drake
Committee
Name: Martin Drake
From: Devon
Registered: 2008-08-20
Posts: 9

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.

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