A picture from members photo gallery

The Diptera ("di-ptera" = two-winged) or "true flies" is the largest order of animals in the UK with around 7,000 known species and new ones being discovered every year. They are found in all habitats from the sea shore to mountain tops. Whilst some are agricultural pests or vectors of disease, the great majority are beneficial. They are extremely important as predators on other pests and diseases, as pollinators, as food for other animals and the immature stages of the bulk of the species are involved in the decay of organic matter and the recycling of material back into the soil.

Entomologists who specialise in these insects are "dipterists". In 1993, a group of people who wanted to find out more about every aspect of their lives, including the habitats they require, set up the Dipterists Forum. There is a great deal still to learn about flies. Mapping the distribution of some groups is a major achievement of the Dipterists Forum to date, but the immature stages of the majority of species are still unknown. Many species are becoming increasingly rare as a result of habitat loss and climate change.

Why not join the Dipterists Forum and help us find out more about flies? There is so much still to learn; we welcome beginners and there are always people who can help you out in the early stages. You donít need to be an expert, or even to leave your own garden, to contribute to our knowledge of these fascinating insects. Flies need your help! Read more ...

Take a look at our new flier on ... flies!

Watch our new video for more about the Dipterist's Forum

Flies are fascinating: Dipterists forum from NINA CONSTABLE MEDIA on Vimeo.

The Bulletin of the Dipterists Forum -31stDec deadline

The deadline for contributions to be sent to Darwyn Sumner and myself for inclusion in the Spring edition of the Bulletin is rushing up - please get your fly news, equipment and book reviews to us by 31st Dec.  Do we have evidence for fly declines? - if you think so, tell us your observations! We appreciate good photos of flies for possible inclusion.  If you want to get your fly photo on the front cover, remember portrait please. The Bulletin is only as good as you make it by sending us interesting stuff....Judy

Posted by Judy Webb | Replies: 0 | Date Posted: 2017-12-05

Ken Smith - funeral arrangements

By Adrian Pont

Dear friends and colleagues,

Adrian Smith has told me that Ken's funeral is set for Wednesday the 29th November at 11:30 at St Maryís church, Bampton, with a wake at the Morris Clown public house at 13:00.

He apologises that this is during the working week and at short notice, but says that all would be very welcome to join him to say farewell to Ken.

Please pass this information on to anyone else whom you think might want to attend.

Best regards,


Posted by ChrisR | Replies: 0 | Date Posted: 2017-11-25

Ken Smith Ė an appreciation

By John Ismay

I knew Ken Smith since 1969, when I first visited the then British Museum (Natural History) in London. At the time the Diptera Section was a large and active section, with enough staff to identify almost any fly to species. Such a facility is no longer feasible, partly due to financial cutbacks but more particularly because the identification of insect taxa has become more difficult as more species are described and the techniques used become more complicated. Ken was one of the last dipterists able to identify most flies to species.

Ken worked in the Hope Department of Entomology in the University Museum, Oxford in the early years of his career. He worked for Dr B.M. Hobby, an expert on Asilidae and they built up an impressive collection of predatory flies (mainly Asilidae and Empidiodea) and their prey. As a result, Ken became an expert in Empidoidea worldwide. Hobby was a long term editor of the Entomologistís monthly Magazine and Ken assisted him and eventually succeeded him. Ken was ably assisted by his wife Vera. We owe all these entomologists a great debt for keeping the EMM running.

When Ken moved to the British Museum (Natural History), now the Natural History Museum he continued with his interest in Empidoidea. He worked on many families of Diptera and wrote definitive texts on the British fauna, in addition to major papers on world taxa. It is worth noting that many of these families are not easy choices. In particular he worked on Empidoidea in the southern hemisphere, a speciose and complicated group which is still being revised, and in Britain made progress with the Phoridae. This is one of the most underworked families of the Diptera and many species remain to be found even in Britain. His Royal Entomological Society key to the larvae of British Diptera is another landmark publication on a very difficult subject.

Ken was a social and outgoing person, never happier than in a pub or party with a glass in hand. He was an inspiration to younger dipterists, including the writer and was always willing to help less experienced colleagues. He had an excellent sense of humour. On one occasion he heard the Keeper, Paul Freeman, asking another section head for the number of primary type specimens (the specimens from which new species are described) held on the section. Ken had catalogued many of these on the Diptera Section, so he went to the card index with a new pack of 100 cards and quickly measured the length of the index, then counted the cards left over. When Freeman reached Diptera and asked for the number of types Ken gave him an exact figure of several thousand species, which must have been a surprise to his line manager.

He will be sorely missed in entomological circles and our sympathy goes to his two sons and the rest of the family.

Posted by ChrisR | Replies: 0 | Date Posted: 2017-11-25

National awards for Dipterists

See https://nbn.org.uk/news-events-publicat … announced/
Congratulations to both Jann and Derek - and other friends.

Posted by Rainieria | Replies: 0 | Date Posted: 2017-11-23

Identification Workshop at Preston Montford 16-18 February 2018

Field Studies Council at Preston Montford are now taking bookings for our annual training course on larger Brachycera and anthomyiids.  I see that their website makes no allowance for the generous discount to Dipterist Forum members (£95). But I suggest you pay just the £50 deposit and use the 'special requirements' box to mention that you are a DF member (if indeed you are!), and Preston Montford can sort out final payment later.

Posted by Martin Drake | Replies: 0 | Date Posted: 2017-11-21

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