Sunday, 18 November 2012

Mid November 2012

A walk around Castle Ashby on Thursday produced plenty of Autumn colour and some spectacular fungi. Beech trees were particularly notable for both. However I did not find many flies. Whilst trying to photograph some fungi in the roots of a beech, I noticed a couple of very small flies running over the bark. I managed to collect one in a pooter but the other disappeared into a crack in the bark. With a bit of twig I managed to coax it out and pooted it up. One was fairly dark and the other yellowish. Under the microscope, the yellow one was easily keyed out to Lonchoptera lutea, a pointed-wing fly. The darker species was also a Lonchoptera but proved tricky. Eventually I concluded it too was L. lutea, largely by eliminating the other six British species.

On a walk near Maidwell on Saturday several hogweed plants were in flower in the road verge. They all had several common yellow dungflies, Scathophaga stercoraria, on them. These flies can be found all over Britain and in every month of the year, making them one of our most commonest flies.

Pete Sharp collected some hoof fungi, Fomes fomentarius, last week in Overstone Wood.  They showed some frass underneath, suggesting that larvae were living in them. He gave me three specimens to see if I could rear anything from them. Two are in my cold greenhouse and one in my study. I am checking them daily to see what emerges. Watch this space......

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