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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 2020-03-23 16:46:57

TJCanterbury
Registered user
Name: Tristan J Canterbury
From: Gosport, UK
Registered: 2020-03-11
Posts: 4

Hoverfly recording

So I just caught an Eristalis pertinax and was going to start a hoverfly reference collection with it but I was worried about disturbing the local population and also accidentally started finding it cute so I let it go.
Do people generally find that a reference collection is helpful for hoverflies? They seem fairly easy to identify by eye.
Or should I just toughen up a bit?

Last edited by TJCanterbury (2020-03-23 17:27:20)

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#2 2020-03-23 22:22:21

Geoff F
DF Members
Name: Geoff Foale
From: South Devon
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 228

Re: Hoverfly recording

Most of my hoverflies, are identified from photographs so they aren't bothered at all by me. But you do need fairly good equipment and correct identification angles are required. With some of the trickier species I sometimes give them a faint whiff of ethyl acetate to calm them down and then photograph them closely from perfect angles. After which they recover and fly away.

Eventually, you get to recognise which camera angles will be required for identification.

A few hoverflies do require close microscopic examination.

With experience it is possible to correctly identify some species by eye but those Eristalis for example can be deceptive and it needs care to see the exact areas for a definite identification. Although simply potting them up into a tube for hand lens checking will usually provide a reliable answer.

So my answer is, I have a photographic reference collection and double check all of my records photographically. Which gives reliable data without harming the subjects.

But many other fly groups along with so many other insects are virtually impossible to identify without microscopic examination of a dead specimen.

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#3 2020-03-24 05:52:57

TJCanterbury
Registered user
Name: Tristan J Canterbury
From: Gosport, UK
Registered: 2020-03-11
Posts: 4

Re: Hoverfly recording

That is pretty much what I was thinking so that's good. Been pinning other Diptera but I could tell it was probably unnecessary for hoverflies, although it did move around a lot.
Thanks for your response!

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