Thursday, 25 October 2012

Late October 2012

Things are now fairly quiet on the fly front and I expect the forecast cold snap will finish off a few of the flies that are still about. A walk in Sane Copse, Yardley Chase, this morning produced one hoverfly Melanostoma scalare (Fabricius). It had been visiting a flower of Ragwort when I saw it.

Apart from that, I noted the Dryomyzid Neuroctena anilis (Fallen). This is a common woodland species in the Autumn. The mines of Agromyza alnivora Spencer were plentiful on the alder leaves. Whilst examining leaves of beech for mines, I found a very distinctive gall. It consisted of a pustule on both sides of the leaf but on the upper surface a cylindrical growth rose about 4mm from the pustule's centre. Using the excellent "British Plant Galls" by Margaret Redfern and Peter Shirley, I discovered that it was caused by the Cecidomyid fly Hartigiola annulipes (Hartig). So not a bad morning despite the weather.

On 18th October, also in Sane Copse I took three flies. One was the hairy-eyed cranefly Tricyphona immaculata (Meigen). This is a smart, black species, a colour that is not very frequent in craneflies. A small lance-winged fly was Lonchoptera bifurcata (Fallen) and a dung fly was not the usual common yellow dung fly Scathophaga stercoraria (Linnaeus) but another common species S. furcata (Say).

Whilst tidying up the garden earlier in the week I noticed a gallery leaf mine on columbine Aquilegia. It is caused by the Agromyzid fly Phytomyza minuscula Goureau, a new species for my garden.

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