FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Fly Family ID with Microscopes

  • Location: Preston Montford
  • Tutor: Nigel Jones
  • Dates: Friday 13 July 2018 to Sunday 15 July 2018
  • Level: Intermediate
  • RESIDENT (SOLE OCCUPANCY): £50
  • RESIDENT (SHARED ROOM): £30
  • NON-RESIDENT: £20

This course is fully booked on this date but you can join the waiting list (by scrollling to the bottom of the page) in case space becomes available or it is run on another date.

Flies are all around us, in a great diversity of shapes and sizes! Hoverflies, horseflies, houseflies, fruit flies, soldierflies, bee-flies, craneflies, greenbottles, bluebottles, mosquitoes and more. Despite this, they are often under-recorded, under-appreciated and under-loved! The true flies, or Diptera, are one of the most species-rich orders of insect in the UK, with over 7,000 species to choose from. They are found in all habitats and have fascinating life-histories and ecosystem roles.

This weekend course will provide an introduction to the Diptera, getting to know and identify some of the major families. The course will be mostly based in the classroom, using microscopes and specimens to learn how to identify the different groups. However we may spend some time in the field, looking at collection techniques. The course is suitable for those with an interest in insects, and no experience of microscopes or flies is necessary (but please note that we will be working with dead specimens, which are essential for identification in many cases). By the end of the weekend participants will:

  • Be able to recognise a number of distinctive fly families
  • Be able to use keys and microscopes to confirm family level identification
  • Have had experience of field methods for finding flies
  • Be familiar with some of the most frequently encountered species
  • Be able to prepare specimens for investigation under the microscope
  • Know how to record flies to for local and national recording schemes
  • Know what to do to take their interest further.

Nigel Jones is a Shropshire entomologist with a particular interest in aculeate Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants) and Diptera (true flies). He has studied flies for over 30 years and his major passion is the Brachyceran flies, which covers many families, including hoverflies (Syrphidae), soldierflies (Stratiomyidae), Fruit flies (Tephritidae), lance-flies (Lonchaeidae), Dolichopodidae, Empididae, and Tachinidae.

Nigel is Shropshire Diptera Recorder and has added hundreds of fly species to the county list. Nigel is co-author of the recently published Provisional Atlas of bees, wasps and ants of Shropshire.

This course is heavily subsidised by the FSC BioLinks Project (funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund).

Further Information

Course brochure


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This course is currently fully booked. You can request to join the waiting list.

RESIDENT (SOLE OCCUPANCY) : £50


RESIDENT (SHARED ROOM) : £30


NON-RESIDENT : £20


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