Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Pipunculid at last!

It would have been a shame to see out the year without finding at least one penis-headed fly, and so I was a happy camper yesterday to find this nice Tomosvaryella on the edge of the woodland near the shore. I am pretty sure it is T.littoralis but I need a better look at the tergite hairs now I've read the RES key (the only other two species recorded in Scotland all have dark femorae anyway).

Pipunculidae have a lot going for them in terms of value. First, lets get it out of the way,  they look like little peni. It's childish but it's true. Second they are unbelievable fliers. Pipunculidae when netted will happily (?) hover in a space inside the net no problem - absolutely fixed on one point in space. They share with Syrphidae a vena spuria and maybe this is an adaptation for hovering. Thirdly, they are endoparasites, and everyone loves a good endoparasite, don't they? Their chosen host group is homoptera and they have been used for pest control for this reason. You can see from the pic below that this girl has a very nasty surprise for some poor bug!

Pipunculidae - the big headed flies

habitus

ovipositor!

Another mushroom made its way onto the list too, meaning I've made my target of 90 spp. by end of August. 910 by end of the month and I'll be happy enough with that.

907 Inocybe fraudans A mushroom
908 Tomosvaryella littoralis A pipunculid fly

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