Conops quadrifasciatus- Garden

Description
A long proboscis and a long pointed anal cell near the hind edge of the wing are features that characterise this family. Hind femora of this species are yellowish brown, and the female has a small yellowish pouch under the 5th abdominal segment.
Habitat
On umbellifers and composites such as Ragwort, especially in drier areas.
When to see it
June to September.
Life History
Larvae are internal parasites of bumblebees.
UK Status
Local and infrequent in Britain.

Advertisements

Banded General – Stratiomys potamida-Garden

One of the ‘big five’ soldierflies (4 Stratiomys species plus Odontomyia ornata). Easily distinguished from O. ornata by the long antennae. It is one of two boldy marked yellow and black Stratiomys species with pale tibiae and an extensively yellow underside to the abdomen. The other species is S. chamaeleon which has a pair of broad, wedge-shaped yellow spots on the sides of tergite 3 and and the yellow mark of the scutellum with an angular fore margin (the best field clue as the folded wings can obscure the abdominal markings).

This is our most widespread Stratiomys and certainly the most frequent inland, though is nevertheless localised and scarce in most districts. It is associated with a variety of non-brackish wetland types, especially seepage-fed marsh, the margins of waterbodies, fens, wet meadows, ditches, the wet parts of woods; also occasionally the perched pools of soft-rock cliffs or landward side of grazing marsh (which can occasionally result in the presence of three Stratiomys species at one site!). Most sites are characterised by good water-quality.

Chrysops relictus female- Lode

Another type of biting Deerfly again caught on the back of my neck !!

Description
Length 8 to 10.5 mm. A stoutly-built insect. The patterning may vary slightly but there are always black lobes on the second abdominal segment. There are other similar species and care needs to be taken with identification.
Habitat
It’s preferred habitat is damp floodplain meadows, it will use other moist areas and woodland, particularly if there is mud or soft wet ground close by.
When to see it
May to September.
Life History
The adults can give humans a painful bite, and the females suck the blood of grazing animals, whilst males feed on flower pollen. The larvae feed upon organic matter in damp soils, and are termed hydrobionts in that they inhabit areas of high water content.
UK Status
Fairly frequent and widespread in Britain.

 

Conops flavipes – Lode

Description
Length 9 to 11 mm. Proboscis length 4.5 mm. A wasp mimic with a black abdomen that has narrow bands of yellow. Hind femora of this species have a prominent dark band around the middle.
Habitat
A species of wet meadows.
When to see it
June to August.
Life History
Larvae are internal parasites of bumblebees.
UK Status
Widespread in southern Britain.

Black-horned Cleg – Haematopota crassicornis (Coton NR)

Description
The Haematopota genus is distinctive due to the mottled wings. H. crassicornis has a greyish abdomen and all-black antennae.
Similar Species
H. pluvialis is the other common species in this genus and very similar though tends to have a brown rather than grey appearance. The males of both species have eye-bands that stop halfway up, while females of both species have eye-bands over the whole of the eyes. However males of pluvialis have an orange third antennal segment.
Habitat
Moist habitats, well wooded areas, pond margins and woodland.
When to see it
May to August.
Life History
Males feed from flowers, but the females bite to draw blood from large mammals including humans.
UK Status
Widespread and fairly common in Britain.

Tabanus sudeticus-Dark giant horsefly (Suffolk)

Britain’s largest horsefly – a monster the size of a queen bumblebee. Fortunately, it prefers biting horses to humans. This is mainly a species of boggy areas in north and west Britain though it remains common in the New Forest where it prefers woodland clearings. The larvae develop as predators in wet mud and vegetation of peaty ditches and pools.

S. longicornis (type of soldier fly) Suffolk

One of the ‘big five’ soldierflies (4 Stratiomys species plus Odontomyia ornata). This is the only one with an entirely black abdomen, though patches of pale hairs can create the impression of a pattern, and very small yellow spots are rarely present (nearly always present in southern European populations). Beware of S. singularior individuals with very small yellow spots – these have extensively dark hind tibiae and usually average larger. It also has a more hirsute appearance than other Stratiomys species

S. longicornis is almost entirely restricted to coastal areas, typically upper saltmarsh, tidal rivers and coastal grazing marsh where brackish pools, ditches and lagoons are present within (e.g. borrow dykes and old salt-winning areas). It will typically occur alongside S. singularior in such places but seems to specialise in more saline habitats. As a result of its more specialised needs, it is a much scarcer species with the bulk of the British population occurring within the Solent area, Sussex coastal marshes, Thames marshes and East Anglian coast.