Monday, 28 March 2016

March 2016

With the cold weather of late, there have been very few flies other than midges about. I have used the time to identify all my Northants specimens for last year.  There were just over 2400 records of flies in Northants from all sources. This brings the Northants database to just over 20,000 records. I shall be doing some more analysis of data when weather conditions prevent active recording.

The good weather on Good Friday brought out the first hoverfly in my garden. A single drone fly Eristalis tenax was holding territory in a sunny patch over my lawn. It also brought out the first dark-edged beefly Bombylius major. Both these species should soon become frequent as the weather warms up. 

At Yardley Hastings Sand Pit on 17th March a single, large, very active fly was spotted on low vegetation. It turned out to be a parasitic fly (family Tachinidae) Gonia picea. This fly is a parasioid of the larvae of the antler moth.

With poor weather for searching for adult flies, I have been looking at leaf mines. The fly mines I have noted during the month were:
Chromatomyia aprilina on honeysuckle
Chromatomyia primulae on primrose
Phytomyza ranunculi on lesser celandine.

Most intriguing was a mine on a shrub in the Orangery at Castle Ashby Gardens. The plant was labelled Jasminium wallinderium but I have been unable to trace the causer. Both David Manning and I took sample leaves to try to rear out an adult but mine is looking decidedly dead. The following is a photo of the mystery mine.

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