Thursday, 1 October 2015

Day 322 - Devoted to Faeces Dung Flies

Yellow Dung Fly (Scathophaga stercoraria)
Hey everyone today's Day 322 and as you know not long ago I went on a walk along the River Swale with a great entomologist Dr Roger Key. He is incredibly knowledgeable about insects. He says one of his favourite things to do is to look in some cow dung, in fact he did a PhD (a really good qualification) all about the insects you find in it. Now, I'm not so adventurous and I just gaze at the top of it. Even here you can see perhaps not one of the prettiest families of insects, definitely not in the prettiest of places but incredible all the same.

While we were walking we were going across a field that was being grazed by cattle so there was plenty of dung and on it was today's subject. See what I mean about not the prettiest of places! But from the photos I hope you see what I mean about incredible. Today I'm looking at Dung Flies!

So, here are the facts:

Ahem!...moving swiftly on...
  • The one that you see here is, from a brief search, is probably a Yellow Dung Fly. This particular species has featured before in my blog in my parasitic Field Digger Wasp post. You may not want to know why but you'll find out if you read the post.
  • The Yellow Dung Fly spends a lot of time around cow dung. Males mate with the less brightly coloured females who then lay their eggs in the dung.
  • The larvae of this particular fly is actually predatory and feeds on other larvae that live in the dung.
Shot from above
  • The adults, meanwhile, are also predatory to other flies and small insects and are a bit more sneaky and will actually ambush prey that is visiting dung.
  • They are not always carnivorous though they will also eat nectar.
  • You will probably see these flies between March and November, a pretty long season on the wing.
  • Both sexes are only about 10mm long.
  • 25 different species of dung flies have been found in the Arctic Tundra! That's kind of like Roger Key's discovery, if I remember rightly, he found the world's first Antarctic Hoverfly!
  • With these Arctic Dung Flies, I wonder what faeces there is for them to eat. I'm guessing that it's Polar Bear
  • 150 species were found in Canada and, worldwide, there has been over 500 different species found in 66 separate genra.
And from the side - this fly was very patient.
  • One final thing on population, there are 54 different species of Dung Flies in the UK. That is quite a lot thinking about it.
  • The Yellow Dung Flies are found commonly around the UK mostly on pasture provided there is dung. 
Here are a few links to some more information




Hope you enjoyed,

Z.

1 comment:

  1. You got some great captures here Zach! - Tasha

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