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 don’t 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.

AES Exhibition and Trade fair 30th Sept

Anybody free to help out extolling how great flies are on the DF stand at the AES exhibition? I could do with some helpers in the afternoon.  Judy

Posted by Judy Webb | Replies: 0 | Date Posted: 2017-09-19

Diptera Workshop 2018

Difficult Larger Brachycera and Anthomyiidae
Preston Montford Field Centre
16 - 18 February 2018
Tutored by Martin Harvey, Howard Bentley and Philip Brighton
Details on Field Studies Council website: http://www.field-studies-council.org/prestonmontford from mid October (search in Courses, then Individuals & Families, then Natural History)

Our two courses in 2018 cover the more tricky species of 'larger' Brachycera and the long-overlooked Anthomyiidae (flower flies). While many of the soldierflies and allies can be identified correctly with few problems using Stubbs & Drake (British soldierflies and their allies), there are still some awkward families that are not easy to identify correctly and consequently generate dubious records. Prime offenders are horseflies and stiletto-flies, but even apparently 'easy' families sometimes need more care, for example, some robberflies and bee-flies. Martin Harvey, national recorder for the Soldierflies and Allies Recording Scheme and an experienced tutor, will lead this course, and Judy Webb will provide a session on larvae of a few families.

At the other end of the popularity spectrum are anthomyiids. It is a moderately large calyptrate family of about 240 species of mainly black bristly flies. They have been ignored as too difficult, despite including some of the commonest and abundant large flies, but recently are experiencing a rise in interest as Michael Ackland has produced keys, detailed notes on identification, biology and, best of all, a full set of superb illustrations that make anthomyiids as easy as moths. The analogy with moths is apt since the quickest way to reach an identification is to look through the drawings for a match, since keys become cumbersome as the taxonomic characters don't lend themselves to obvious key dichotomies. Leaf-mining larvae predominate but the remainder have a wide range of ecologies with larvae in decaying vegetable material, fungi and dung, while one genus is a kleptoparasite of solitary bees. The adults often live up to their name of flower flies, making them easy to target in the field. For those who have dabbled with this family, a new approach to identification will give an additional boost, under the guidance of Howard Bentley and Phil Brighton.

As usual, handouts will be provided. For both courses, information will be provided on species distributions and habitats, and suggestions made for some targeted recording to improve our knowledge of these groups.

Arrive on Friday evening in time for dinner, and leave on Sunday afternoon. More precise information will be put on the website.

The Dipterists Forum is offering bursaries for up to two places at half price on the Preston Montford course. If you would like to take up this offer please apply by e-mail to the chairman, Rob Wolton, robertwolton@yahoo.co.uk, giving your reasons for applying and saying why you wish to attend the meeting. Applicants must be members of the Forum. Applications should reach Rob not later than mid December.

If you would like to attend, check the FSC website or contact Preston Montford directly. Bookings usually open in October. The cost of the course will be £290 for a single room, £265 for a shared room and £210 for non-residents. Dipterists Forum members get a £95 discount on these prices (which are then respectively £195, £170 and £115). If you do not bring your own microscope, one can be provided by the field centre but do please book with Preston Montford if you need one.

Posted by Martin Drake | Replies: 0 | Date Posted: 2017-09-17

Alan Stubbs gets an award

Changes of Address

Please remember to inform the Membership Secretary if you are changing your address. We have had two copies of the latest Dipterists Digest returned for being unknown at the address we have on file.

Please could the fllowing contact me with their new address?
S.J. Thomas
C. D. Farmer

Posted by JohnShowers | Replies: 0 | Date Posted: 2017-09-08

Forthcoming events calendar 2017-2018 for all interested in flies

30 September 2017. AES Annual Exhibition and Trade Fair, Kempton Park, London Sunbury-on-Thames, TW16 5AQ, UK. DF will have a publicity stand and publications for sale. See www.amentsoc.org 

4 November 2017.   BENHS Annual Exhibition and Dinner, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL. See http://www.benhs.org.uk  . Bring your best fly exhibits for the Diptera table.

16 &17th November 2017 NBN Conference 2017 "Data - what is it good for?" National Museum Cardiff UK Awards for biological recording & information sharing. We will be announcing the winners of the UK Awards for Biological Recording & Information Sharing at a special ceremony on the Thursday evening.  Don't forget to book your place when registering for the Conference if you wish to join us.

25 & 26 November 2017,  DF AGM, Dipterists Day and Indoor Meeting. Liverpool World Museum, William Brown Street, Liverpool,  L3 8EN.

2 December 2017,  Discovering Diptera: flies under the microscope, Epping Forest FSC (north London) Tutor:  Martin Harvey - http://www.field-studies-council.org/in … 66530.aspx

9 December 2017, Light-trapped insects - going beyond the moths, BENHS workshop led by M Harvey.  Light traps are most widely used for attracting moths, but a wide range of other insects come to light as well, including craneflies, caddisflies, beetles (especially dung, ground, water and burying beetles), water bugs, lacewings and wasps. By learning to recognise at least a few of these other insects moth-trappers can make significant contributions to the recording schemes for other groups. This workshop will focus on the non-moth species that are most frequently seen in and around moth traps, providing guidance on how to identify them and what resources are available. Please bring along your specimens and photos of any light-trapped insects as long as they aren't moths!Venue Dinton Pastures. See:  www.benhs.org.uk 


20 & 21 January 2018, from 10- 6pm daily.   Beginners course in fly identification. Tutors John & Barbara Ismay and Jann Billker. Participants will be limited to 12,  cost GBP 60. Venue OUMNH , bookings possible via the museum, from some time in October, – the link is http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk/visiting/whatson.htm . The participants will learn to identify flies (Diptera) to family and they will also get a more than 100 page handout – the Dipterists Forum draft key.

16 - 18  February 2018, DF Advanced Identification Workshop.  Families: Difficult Larger Brachycera and Anthomyiidae. Tutored by Martin Harvey, Howard Bentley and Philip Brighton. Preston Montford Field Studies Centre, Shrewsbury. Details on FSC website: http://www.field-studies-council.org/prestonmontford

3 March 2018, Introduction to Craneflies workshop. Tutor Pete Boardman. BENHS Dinton Pastures, Hurst, Reading. See http://www.benhs.org.uk

10 March 2018, Tachinidae identification workshop. Tutors Matt Smith and Chris Raper. BENHS Dinton Pastures, Hurst, Reading. See http://www.benhs.org.uk

24 March 2018 BENHS Annual General Meeting and Presidential Address. Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Parks Road, Oxford . See http://www.benhs.org.uk
12 May 2018 Bees, hoverflies and flowers: pollinators and pollination, Tutor Martin Harvey  - Bishops Wood (near Kidderminster). Field Studies Council.

23- ? June 2018,  DF Summer Field meeting based at Staffordshire University.

30 June 2018 Bees, hoverflies and flowers: pollinators and pollination, Tutor Martin Harvey - Bushy Park, south-west London. Field studies Council.

20–25 November 2018.   9th International Congress of Dipterology is scheduled to take place in Stellenbosch, South Africa,. See website : (http://icd9.co.za/)

1 December 2018 Discovering Diptera: Flies under the Microscope, Tutor Martin Harvey  - Epping Forest. Field Studies Council.

Throughout the Year:

BENHS Dinton Pastures Open Days in the Pelham-Clinton Building, Hurst, Reading. Open 10:30-16:00 on second and fourth Sunday in each month except April to September when only on the second Sunday of each month (except for August when there are no Open Days). We encourage you to bring along your pinned flies and use the Diptera Collections and library for identification.  Other Dipterists are usually present meaning good chat and assistance with identifications may be possible. The grid reference for Dinton Pastures is SU 784718, turn left off the B3030 driving North from Winnersh. The site is about 15 minutes  walk from Winnersh station, which has trains running on a half-hourly service from Reading and Waterloo. See: www.benhs.org.uk   
The Northants and Peterborough Diptera Group hold meetings every weekend from end of April until sometime in September/October. See:  northantsdiptera.blogspot.co.uk or contact John Showers on email: showersjohn@gmail.com
The Devon Fly Group will be holding regular field meetings throughout the year. Contact Martin Drake (01460 2206650, email: martindrake2@gmail.com).

Posted by Judy Webb | Replies: 1 | Date Posted: 2017-08-03

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