FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Identifying Hoverflies

  • Location: Bishops Wood
  • Tutor: Nigel Jones
  • Date: Saturday 20 May 2017
  • Times: 10:00 - 16:00
  • Level: Beginners
  • Age Range: Adult

This course is now historical and therefore no bookings can be taken. Explore our current programme of courses here

In many places, during spring and summer, hoverflies are frequently seen in abundance. Hoverflies utilise many situations, such as aphid infested vegetation (above and underground), vegetative feeding in stems, leaves and tubers/bulbs, rot holes in old trees, decaying organic material and in the nests of ants, wasps and bumblebees. As such they are useful indicators of the range and quality of microhabitats present on sites, and surveys of hoverflies can make a significant contribution to site quality assessments. In Britain we have around 280 hoverfly species. Although a good number of species can be readily identified in the field, the majority of species require closer examination before a specimen can be reliably named. Fortunately there are excellent identification handbooks for British and European Hoverflies, so that with a little experience, many seemingly difficult specimens can be named with some ease. This one day workshop will provide an introduction to the key characters that are used in determining hoverfly species. You will learn how to identify some species in the field and learn how to prepare more challenging specimens, so that key features can be easily viewed with both pocket lens and binocular microscope. At the end of the session you should be able to confidently locate the key determining characters of hoverflies and be able to use these to identify many British hoverflies to species level. Useful items to bring are 10x and 20x pocket lens and, the one of these books: British Hoverflies an Illustrated Identification Guide – Stubbs, A.E. & Falk, S.J. (2002) or Britain’s Hoverflies - Ball, S. and Morris, R. K. (2015). You are also welcome to bring along any previously collected hoverfly specimens that you would like to identify.

Nigel Jones has studied Diptera for over 30 years and over that time has maintained a steady interest in the hoverflies. During this time he has introduced numerous students to hoverflies and other families of Diptera through one day and weekend workshops. He is one of two Country Recorders for Diptera in Shropshire. His favourite pastime is recording insects in Shropshire and neighbouring areas.

This course is now historical and therefore no bookings can be taken. Explore our current programme of courses here.

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