Wednesday 29 December 2021

Wildlife Review 2021 - Flies

This section covers true flies (Diptera), except for hoverflies which are covered in a separate section. In total there were 140 species identified this year including 23 new species.

Sieve-winged Snail-killer - Alan Keatley

Of the new species, 13 were leaf miners or gall causers. In both cases the species are identified by the affect they have on specific plants. With miners it’s the pattern and extent of the leaf mine formed by the fly's larvae inside the leaf; and for gall midges the type of galls formed by larvae on parts of the plant.

The first new species was a Birch Catkin Gall Midge Semudobia skuhrava found on 12 February, and as plants came into leaf and bud other new species were discovered including Bistort Gall Midge Wachtliella persicariaeSt John’s-wort Gall Midge Dasineura serotinaLighthouse Gall Midge Rondaniola bursaria, an Angelica Leaf Miner Phytomyza angelicastri,  a Poplar Blotch Miner Aulagromyza populicola, a Poplar Leaf Miner Aulagromyza populi and a Meadowsweet Miner Agromyza filipendulae.

Agromyza filipendulae - Kevin Rylands

Other new species covered a wide range of fly families; Small Bee-grabber Thecophora atra, Common Awl Robberfly Neoitamus cyanurus, Twin-spot Centurion Sargus bipunctatusa greenbottle Eudasyphora cynaellaa daggerfly Empis livida, satellite fly Macronychia polyodonfleshfly Sarcophaga haemorrhoarust fly Loxocera albiseta and a tachinid Gastrolepta anthacina.

Small Bee-grabber - Alan Keatley

The most notable and least expected discovery was Broad-winged Tachinid Ectophasia crassipennis found on 3 September; a parasitoid of shieldbugs, it was first recorded in the UK in 2019. 

Broad-winged Tachinid - Alan Keatley

Other notable records included the nationally scarce soldier fly Ornate Brigadier Odontomyia ornata from 9 June, a species often found on water-dropwort, in Devon it only occurs around the Exe. Sieve-winged Snail-killer Coremacera marginata was another good find on 26 June.

Ornate Brigadier - Steve Fuller

At least 30 different fly families were recorded include species such as Dark-edged Beefly Bombyilus major, Dune Robberfly Philonicus albiceps, Coastal Silver Stiletto Acrosathe annulata, Hawthorn Fruit Fly Anomoia purmunda, Waisted Bee-grabber Physocephala rufipes and Pouting Woodlouse-fly Rhinophora lepida.

Small Fleck-winged Snipe Fly Rhagio lineola - Alan Keatley

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