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The Society for the study of flies (Diptera)

Affiliated to the British Entomological and Natural History Society (BENHS)

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#1 2013-01-04 19:50:18

Alan Outen
DF Members
Name: Alan Outen
Registered: 2010-06-24
Posts: 865

small fly with white tibiae, attracted to light

This small fly (body length c 5mm) is my first fly species photographed for this year. It was caught at MV light in my moth trap last night (3 Jan 2013) in my garden in Clifton, Beds. I was struck by the distinctive white tibiae. Any suggestions on identification would be very greatly appreciated as always. I do have the specimen.

Alan


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#2 2013-01-04 19:55:13

ChrisR
Administrator
Name: Chris Raper
From: Reading, UK
Registered: 2008-03-08
Posts: 397
Website

Re: small fly with white tibiae, attracted to light

Looks like Simulium to me ... horrible little blighters wink

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#3 2013-01-05 03:22:03

Alan Outen
DF Members
Name: Alan Outen
Registered: 2010-06-24
Posts: 865

Re: small fly with white tibiae, attracted to light

Many thanks Chris. I understand that identification of females especially is highly problematical.

Alan

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#4 2013-01-05 17:34:23

Howard Bentley
Committee
Name: Howard Bentley
Registered: 2008-07-07
Posts: 795

Re: small fly with white tibiae, attracted to light

They are all highly problematical! There have been many changes of nomenclature since the publication of Davies's key in 1968, and I don't know of anything more up-to-date. Does anyone else?

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#5 2013-01-06 01:54:08

ChrisR
Administrator
Name: Chris Raper
From: Reading, UK
Registered: 2008-03-08
Posts: 397
Website

Re: small fly with white tibiae, attracted to light

Having been bitten by them many times in the neotropics (they really have the worst bite), I made a vow never to study anything that was after my blood wink

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#6 2013-01-06 16:14:48

Howard Bentley
Committee
Name: Howard Bentley
Registered: 2008-07-07
Posts: 795

Re: small fly with white tibiae, attracted to light

Looking at images of Simulium species on a number of websites suggests that white tibiae are not uncommon. Unfortunately most of those I've been able to find are simply labelled "Simulium sp".

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#7 2013-01-07 11:47:18

Alan Outen
DF Members
Name: Alan Outen
Registered: 2010-06-24
Posts: 865

Re: small fly with white tibiae, attracted to light

Thank you both. Howard's latest comment confirms what I had already concluded. I will retain the specimen nonetheless,  as one never knows it might be resolvable in the future.

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#8 2013-01-07 14:44:30

Mark
DF Members
Name: Mark Mitchell
From: Hampshire
Registered: 2008-06-17
Posts: 273

Re: small fly with white tibiae, attracted to light

I use the Davies's key, Crosskey 1996 updates the nomenclature.

I do persevere with these, but very rarely get to a species name. I feel Davies could be improved upon a little but there is no mistaking these are just an inherently difficult group.

I too found yesterday one that looks remarkably close to the one pictured here. Yes, many have whitish legs but not normally quite as white as these. I will see where I get to when I get time to look at the specimen (not that we can say with any certainty your will be the same).

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#9 2013-01-08 13:05:15

Alan Outen
DF Members
Name: Alan Outen
Registered: 2010-06-24
Posts: 865

Re: small fly with white tibiae, attracted to light

Very many thanks Mark. My impression was also that the legs on this one were exceptionally white. I ran the moth trap again last night as much as anything to see if I got any more (including perhaps a male) but it was a completely blank night.  I would be more than happy to send you the specimen I have if you would like it for comparison or whatever. Just let me know.

Alan

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#10 2013-01-09 00:55:45

Mark
DF Members
Name: Mark Mitchell
From: Hampshire
Registered: 2008-06-17
Posts: 273

Re: small fly with white tibiae, attracted to light

my specimen keyed comfortably to Simulium variegatum

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#11 2013-01-09 11:55:02

Alan Outen
DF Members
Name: Alan Outen
Registered: 2010-06-24
Posts: 865

Re: small fly with white tibiae, attracted to light

Thanks Mark.

I do not have access to the Davies key, even if I was able to be able to key it out with the physical problems I have! It looks though as if getting the key is also a problem with this group! Amazon are quoting 142.72 dollars second hand and Abebooks £68-95 - rather expensive I fear in view of all that has ben written above!

Alan

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#12 2013-01-09 12:41:00

Mark
DF Members
Name: Mark Mitchell
From: Hampshire
Registered: 2008-06-17
Posts: 273

Re: small fly with white tibiae, attracted to light

I picked up my copy on eBay - just be patent and it will be available at a sensible price sooner or later.

You need a reasanble mircoscope too, many of the features in the key are small and one needs x60 or greater to see them.

Mark

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#13 2013-01-09 14:11:37

Alan Outen
DF Members
Name: Alan Outen
Registered: 2010-06-24
Posts: 865

Re: small fly with white tibiae, attracted to light

Many thanks Mark.

As a mycologist I have a good quality zoom stereo binoc that will comfortably cover me for that as well as an ordinary microscope with which I can get up to x 1500! So no problems on that score! High magnifications in mycology are in a different league to Diptera. When studying some fungi genera (e.g. Inocybe, for which I wrote the British keys) I often wish it were possible to get even more than x 1500 in order to see fine detail on spores! Sadly of course what one gains in magnification one loses in definition.

My bigger problem with seeing small features on Diptera is more manual dexterity exacerbated by the fact that my fingers are frequently inclined to twitch involuntarily, such that I have been known to decapitate something when merely trying to manoeuvre the abdomen into a better position!

I will nonetheless look out for the key at a more sensible price.

Best wishes

Alan

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