British Scathophagidae

Scathophagid recording scheme

Dipterists Summer Field Meeting, Bangor July 2014

The Dipterists Summer Field Meeting was based at Bangor University from 5th to 12th July 2014. The weather was good and we got to some good habitat, especially the calcareous fens of central Anglesey and coastal habitats around Anglesey and the Llyn Penninsular. Whilst many of the sites we visited were very nice, flies seemed a bit hard to come by and the general consensus was that it felt more like mid-August than early July. A combination of an early season and a couple of dry and hot weeks before we arrived seemed to have led to much of the stuff we would have expected to have found being prematurely over.

From the Scathophagid point of view, the star of the show was Scathophaga scybalaria which was found at many sites, though not abundantly. This gave me a chance to see and measure quite a large number of specimens and I came home with nice fresh specimens to photograph. One thing I was struck by was how variable is the extent of tinting of the wings. I caught one pair in which the wings were scarcely more than yellow tinged towards the costal margin, yet in other specimens the wings were so heavily tinted as to appear almost blackish when folded over each other.

Scathophaga scybalariaI spent quite a bit of time trying to get some field photographs of this splendid insect and, with a bit of help from colleagues spotting specimens resting on the vegetation, managed to get some quite acceptable photos. It was very noticeable that they were not seen at dung (the sites where we found them were all rather wet and grazed by horses and ponies), but could occasionally be spotted resting head downwards on stems of reeds or rushes. They are not easy to approach and fly strongly and rapidly when disturbed, so are difficult to follow.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith