Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Fungus Gnat updates

A couple of fungus gnats I pulled off their pins (and, sadly, apart) which had been languishing since September. Both came up trumps - Boletina nitida (which I misidentified and was corrected!) and Mycetophila unitotata. Both, it goes without saying, are new to me.

Boletina nitida

Mycetophila unitotata

Mycetophila unitotata - ID features!

1016 Boletina nitida A fungus gnat
1017 Mycetophila uninotata A fungus gnat

Monday, 13 November 2017

A few additions

A Cladonia found on the edge of a lawn turned out to be C.chlorophaea. Suspected Phaonia pallida from a water trap in Bathing House Wood was confirmed by its underwing setae, and a couple of female Anthomyia turned out to be festiva. All these were preceded by a Field Blewit which was found in the grassy triangle behind Lumsdaine Drive

1010 Lepista nuda Field Blewit
1011 Cladonia chlorophaea A lichen
1012 Phaonia pallida A muscid fly
1013 Anthomyia festiva A flower fly

Monday, 6 November 2017

sp #1009, bird #89 - Whooper Swan

Scarcely has a targetted search proved so easy!

7:00 - wake up
7:20 - head out to Downing Point in hopes of Whooper and/or Waxwing passage.
7:25 - at the point.
7:52 - overflying whoopers. Score!

No waxwings, though.


sp #1008, diptera #156 - Coenosia agromyzina

On ivy with a few other flies, wasps and a butterfly

Monday, 30 October 2017

Sp. #1007, Bug #30 - Parapiesma quadratum

An orache specialist, so naturally from the fringe of Hopeward Wood/shore where two species grow in a fat line. The species overwinters as an adult so probably there are a lot more of them about right now.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Mydaea corni, Bathing House Wood water trap

On a sunny day last week I put out a water trap in Bathing House Wood, fully anticipating a number of smaller flies. What I got was a surprise, with a few nice fat Muscoidea including this one - Mydaea corni. It appears to have only been recorded in Fife in 1904 in nearby Aberdour. It's not apparent how pretty it is from the pics really with a black body/yellow scutellum coated with a bronzey dusting that shimmers when you rotate it. Very nice. Water trap specimens always seem to have a different appearance than those caught with a net so I need to improve my re-setting skills.

interesting ovipositor

It appears to have been once thought to be a cow dung species and it seems to be at least in some cases, but the area seems to be short on cow dung community species, certainly compared to my nearby nature reserve. This is a fair remove from the nearest cows.

Monday, 23 October 2017

1000 species breakdown

So after a two week recovery period in Turkey here's a breakdown of how the total was reached. I'll have to think about my favourites later.

It's been fun. Sometimes exciting, sometimes trying. Sometimes amazingly easy, sometimes very difficult. There were plenty surprises and a full quarter of the final tally were species new to me. That might be worth breaking down too.

I'm looking forward to looking at some neglected places and groups to be honest, but it's been a very rewarding exercise. I'll continue to record a few "extra" species for when species on the list prove to be bulls.. erroneous. Now I'm taking it a bit easier birds are starting to finally trickle in, though with winter thrushes being the latest additions maybe that pool is drying up.

Here's how the numbers grew compared with previous annual listing on my local nature reserve

You can see the benefit of working a square close to home/work that's always accessible. The other one is too, to be fair, but I never visited it as consistently.

Here's how the numbers grew by category,

It's not so easy to see how the inverts broke down from this but flies came on strong latterly as moths died away. Moths were severely under-represented really as I only was able to take a serious moth trap on site in the final month. Let's not talk about beetles ... the surge of autumn fungi is pretty obvious though.

The way the numbers moved can be seen reasonably well on here:

Class Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep 23-Oct
Verts 40 54 64 71 73 74 85 92 95 99
Inverts 54 106 148 208 301 365 411 467 499 505
Plants 69 92 104 122 137 147 188 201 203 203
Fungi 65 72 87 93 99 102 119 139 176 181
Algae 8 13 16 17 17 17 17 17 17 17
Total 236 337 419 511 627 705 820 916 990 1005

And the final breakdown of today's tally of 1005 ...

Category Oct-23
alga 17
Protist other 0
slime mould 2
lichen 48
fungus 131
liverwort 5
moss 27
flowering plant 165
conifer 2
fern 4
cnidarian 4
mollusc 33
bryozoan 2
annelid 7
flatworm 1
harvestman 5
pseudoscorpion 1
spider 29
gall mite 0
tick 1
millipede 6
centipede 3
crustacean 15
collembola 13
bristletails 1
odonata 0
dermaptera 1
orthoptera 0
hemiptera 29
coleoptera 58
diptera 154
lep-moth 92
lep-butterfly 9
hymenoptera 34
insect-other 4
tunicate 1
echinoderm 1
invert-other 1
fish 4
reptile 0
amphibian 2
bird 88
mammal 5

Just for luck, some more numbers:
1001 Pyrrhula pyrrhula Bullfinch
1002 Eudasyphora cyanella A muscid fly
1003 Lactarius pubescens A mushroom
1004 Turdus iliacus Redwing
1005 Turdus pilaris Fieldfare

Lactarius pubescens

Winter thrushes

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Fly, fungus. Fungus fly!

Same title, same split. Only this time the fly is a fungus fly. Now I need to finish on a fly fungus!

Cystoderma amianthinum and Keroplatus testaceus. Both lovely. The Cystoderma is common enough but the joy of the Keroplatus was that when we found it on a fungal foray it was a pupa. Unbeknown to us we found a larva at the same time, so now with the larva in alcohol and the pupa bred out I have seen all stages except egg - something that doesn't happen often. NBN doesn't have many dots for the fungus gnat but then that's probably true of most fungus gnats. I'll see what we can make of it as a record.

995 Syrphus torvus A hoverfly
996 Phaonia valida A muscid fly

997 Cystoderma amianthinum A mushroom
998 Keroplatus testaceus A fungus gnat

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Fungus, fly. Fly, fungus. Not like that, like that.

Sorry about the repetitive theme but this is what we're working with now! Maybe another bird will show up at lunchtime today. Why not?

Having found myself briefly locked out as I waited for the missus yesterday night I stumbled into this lovely Lactarius deterrimus on the edge of a garden. It has orange milk, which narrows it down very swiftly!

The fly, Suillia pallida, was only finally sorted out this morning though I had keyed the family and guessed the genus yesterday.

Lactarius deterrimus

Suillia pallida

The creeping count
993 Lactarius deterrimus A milkcap
994 Suillia pallida A fly

Monday, 2 October 2017

992 Greylag Goose

Now that wasn't so hard was it?

Come on Kestrel, Bullfinch, Buzzard ...

In bird ringing there are Constant Effort Sites. But here's a real constant effort site! This year's effort compared with two previous years at my local nature reserve. I would never have expected that.

One at a time please, ladies ...

Creeping slowly forward at one fly per day. Probably means I'll shoot forward as these things go in cycles. I would back finishing on Thursday maybe now though with a meeting of fungus-botherers who may be prepared to bash out some tricky identification with me.

One of my favourite flies was a nice surprise yesterday after sitting on a pin for two days - Phaonia rufiventris (R.populi as was). It's like a P.subventa but with yellow humeri and less acrostichials

Can't say why it appeals to me so much but I added it to the county list a while back from a more interesting forestry and sort of assumed its presence there was why it hadn't been noted before. Anyway, now it's noted from here too.

Yellow humeri. One pre-stu acro (not a pair - just 1!)

The meagre list additions:
989 Ocydromia glabricula A fly
990 Lucilia silvarum A fly
991 Phaonia rufiventris A fly

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Spring(tails) again

A reprise of springtails with the common Ceratophysella bengtssoni found in the cap of a Mycena, maybe munching on spores. Also a not particularly exciting Oyster Gall on oak.

(update - springtail ID has been confirmed and only two prior records for Scotland - one from Dalgety Bay in 1934! Two prior Scottish records is about par for the course for a common springtail)



Inflatable antennal section. But why?!

984 Ceratophysella bengtssoni A springtail
985 Andricus anthracina  Oyster Gall Causer

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Red Book Rhodocybe

Leftovers from Sunday's "foray" (can you forage corticioid fungi? No)

Rhodocybe gemina - a red list mushroom according to Phillips. Likely to be the best fungal find of the year, but you never know

983 Rhodocybe gemina A mushroom

Monday, 25 September 2017

Fungal additions

Some more fungi from today, including one I forgot from Friday - Silky Pinkgill (Entoloma sericeum)

Silky Pinkgill

Entoloma spores

Snowy Waxcap

Iodine Bonnet

980 Hygrocybe virginia Snowy Waxcap
981 Mycena filopes Iodine Bonnet
982 Entoloma sericeum Silky Pinkgill

Forging forward with fungi

I knew that this part of the year was always going to be a time when fungi would come to the fore, and as luck would have it I was able to time a meeting of fungi-bothering friends to coincide with a time of decent fungal diversity starting to emerge. I always hoped to have these guys involved at some point, and it would have been nice if I could have moved the piece along the board a bit more beforehand so that we could have gone over 1000 with a corticioid fungus (the main focus of the study group).

As it was I've moved considerably closer to the goal, with just over 20 species left to grab. It won't happen before end of September now, but it might yet happen before I go on holiday in October.


Clouded Funnel

The alien-looking Stinkhorn "egg"


Fairy Inkcap

Botryobasidium vagum (aka botryosum)

B.vagum's short and wide hyphae

Skeletocutis nivea

Skeletocutis nivea coralloid binding hyphae

Additions to the list:
965 Phallus impudicus Stinkhorn
966 Alauda arvensis Skylark
967 Rhodocollybia butyracea Butter Cap
968 Postia subcaesia Blueing Bracket
969 Pholiota squarrosa Shaggy Scalycap
970 Tomentella sublilacina A corticioid fungus
971 Skeletocutis nivea Hazel Bracket
972 Hyphodontia alutacea A corticioid fungus
973 Stereum sanguinolentum Bleeding Conifer Crust
974 Agaricus arvensis Horse Mushroom
975 Agaricus sylvaticus A mushroom
976 Marasmius oreades Fairy Ring Champignon
977 Clitocybe nebularis Clouded Funnel
978 Amphinema byssoides Cratered Duster
979 Botryobasidium vagum A corticioid fungus

Thursday, 21 September 2017


The first time I found a Louse Fly, around a year ago, I remember thinking it was a Tachinid and then having no luck I think I finally stumbled across the Rhinophoridae key that is an appendix to Steven Falk's draft key to Calliphoridae.

Yesterday I managed to complete my set of Fife Rhinophoridae with Melanophora roralis. This was my third species this year. Considering the county list at the start of the year was 2 species that's not bad going!

This is the blackest of black flies. Its wings are black. Even its calypters are black. And its halteres. Remarkable. At first when I swept and potted it I expected to just confirm it was Melanomya nana, which is a pretty common fly here (Little Black Blowfly or something like that), so when I popped it out under the microscope last night I was well pleased!

Actually I lied a bit earlier. Since this species was only known from the Isle of May it means there was only one mainland rhinophorid species at the start of the year. NBN shows only 10 records for the family in Scotland, which probably shows a remarkable dearth of dipterist activity as much as anything else.

I also see that NBN has zero records for Rhinophora lepida for Scotland, which maybe I ought to have checked out earlier (did i and I forgot? Maybe). In fact it has apparently a very southerly distribution, though I have two vouchers of it from the square this year!

Anyway, here's the black fly, my only ID success of last night but I can live with that!

The blackest fly

new printed labels

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Emmesomyia grisea - new to Scotland (probably)

So I finally took a spade to the beach last night to dig up some lugworms. New species are proving a slog at the moment. Birds aren't playing ball though the flies and fungi are sort of ticking along. Two easy ones yesterday though (in ID terms - digging sand is still work!). However the third from yesterday was more interesting.

I decided the other night to give the proper respect to an anthomyiid that I netted at the weekend. Very happy I did too as it's the most northerly record for the species and more than likely new to Scotland - Emmesomyia grisea. As I've been making progress with calypterates it's been bugging me that I've sort of ignored the Anthomyiidae as difficult. Don't get me wrong - they ARE difficult, but they are getting easier. The difficulty lies in their similarity and the consequent nuances of setae organisation (and naming!) that you have to understand to work the keys. Females are still off the list, for the moment at least.

957 Helophilus pendulus A hoverfly
958 Arenicola marina Blow Lugworm
959 Emmesomyia grisea An anthomyid fly

Monday, 18 September 2017

Fly by night

After Friday's new Fife fly while searching for moss I found another new Fife fly while searching for moths. This is a cracking little thing and my first in the Keroplatidae. It's only Fife's 2nd recorded one as far s I can see though there must be lots more. Fortunately it did me the honour of attending my MV trap and even more fortunately (for a change) wasn't in the Mycetophilinae so I actually had a key for it!

I bagged some water cress also on Friday and was pleased to confirm the species which I had suspected was really the more common (in the county at least) hybrid.

Sunday turned up some nice mushrooms and all-in-all not a bad weekend, though a September finish seems to be drifting away

Macrocera (no kidding!) vittata

oficinale water cress

Lovely little Entoloma

Blackening Waxcap

946 Macrocera vittata A fungus gnat
947 Hygrocybe coccinea A Waxcap
948 Hygrocybe conica Blackening Waxcap
949 Claviceps purpurea Ergot
950 Polietes lardarius A muscid fly
951 Russula ochroleauca A mushroom
952 Scolopostethus thomsonii A mirid bug
953 Entoloma serrulatum Blue-edged Pinkgill