FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Dipterists Forum Workshop

  • Location: Preston Montford
  • Tutor: Stephen Hewitt and Nigel Jones
  • Dates: Friday 15 February 2019 to Sunday 17 February 2019
  • Times: 06:00 PM - 04:00 PM
  • Level: Open for Everyone
  • NON-RESIDENT: £215

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

This advanced workshop tackles Empid flies (dance flies) which form a large group of nearly 400 species in four families. They have long been popular as a jumping-off group into the smaller and more tricky flies owing to the excellent monograph by J.E. Collin. Since this monumental work was published, about 40 more species have been found in Britain. Most northern European genera have been thoroughly revised by Chvála. The range of form and size is vast, ranging from chunky species to pin-head-sized. They include many rapidly evolving groups that defy convenient bundling into easily managed genera, so that four large genera together contain two-thirds of the species. However, some of the true empids often have conspicuously ornamented legs and external sexual organs that make their identification straight-forward. Empids occupy just about every habitat from fore dunes to mountain tops, with some very specialised niches in between, making them an exceptionally interesting group to focus on ecologically. Empids are predators as larvae and often as adults, but their behaviour is rather more interesting than that of the average fly, notably in their swarming and gift-giving during courtship, and in the evolution of sexual selection where females sometimes outshine males in their attire. Part of the course will cover the biology of the groups, and most time is devoted to identification. Previous experience of Diptera identification would be an advantage for this workshop. Handouts will be provided.

Sessions will be lead by expert members of the Dipterists Forum Stephen Hewitt and Nigel Jones. Stephen Hewitt runs the national empid recording scheme and has long experience with the group. He worked at Tullie House Museum at Carlisle for many years before leaving to take up a research fellowship in the entomology section at National Museums Scotland, studying hybotids and other Diptera associated with rivers. Nigel Jones is County Diptera Recorder for Shropshire, and is the co-author of a provisional atlas of bees, wasps and ants in this county. He earlier worked for Natural England.

Further Information

Course Leaflet
About Preston Montford
Directions to Preston Montford

This course is now historical and therefore no bookings can be taken.

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