Course: Discovering Diptera: Flies Under the Microscope

Field Studies Council

Epping Forest, Essex
Saturday 30th November 020 8502 8500

Cost: £50

Sectors: conservation & wildlife

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.

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