This day course will provide an introduction to the Diptera, getting familiar with some of the major families and with a focus on some of the larger and more colourful species in the hoverfly, soldierfly, robberfly and related families. Hoverflies, horseflies, houseflies, fruit flies, soldierflies, bee-flies, craneflies, greenbottles, mosquitoes and more: flies are all around us, but are often overlooked or even actively discouraged. In fact 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 day course will provide an introduction to the Diptera, getting familiar with some of the major families and with a focus on some of the larger and more colourful species in the hoverfly, soldierfly, robberfly and related families. The course will be mostly based in the classroom, using microscopes and specimens to learn how to identify the different groups. We will also spend a short time outside searching for winter flies. This course is suitable for beginners with an interest in insects, as well as countryside professionals (but please note that we will be working with dead specimens, which are essential for identification in many cases).

By the end of the workshops participants will:
• Be able to recognise a number of distinctive fly families
• Have used keys to confirm family level identification and to go on to species identification
• Have had experience of field methods for finding flies
• Be familiar with some of the most frequently encountered species
• Have explored the benefits and limits of identifying hoverflies from photos
• Know how to record flies to for local and national recording schemes
• Know where to get further help.

Tutor: Martin Harvey

Martin Harvey tutors regularly for FSC and for Manchester Metropolitan University. He is an ecologist specialising in insect conservation and recording, carrying out surveys for a range of clients, and is a Research Fellow at the national Biological Records Centre. Martin has been County Moth Recorder for Berkshire for over 20 years.

Example Timetable

09.30 - Registration and refreshments
10.00 – Introduction to flies and their natural history
10.30 – Recognising families and identifying species
10.30 – Working with microscopes and specimens
12.30 - Lunch
13.00 – Finding flies in winter – fieldwork in Epping Forest
14.30 – Further identification
16.00 - Course ends

All timings are approximate. This is an outline programme and may be subject to change according to the weather, requirements of the group or access restrictions to field sites on the day of the course. Our courses include some classroom sessions but field visits may be a few hours long and involve walking over uneven ground.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • Personal and Travel Insurance

Before You Attend

What to Bring

  • Sensible clothing for the weather
  • Appropriate footwear
  • Lunch and Drinks (refreshments are provided)

Optional

  • A hand lens
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