Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Click on any of the images to enlarge.

I found this rather wonderful fly sunbathing on the back gate at lunchtime today.
This is a "Dolichopodid fly" or "Thick headed fly".
Never heard of it? To be honest, nor had I before this afternoon.

This individual on the back gate this afternoon is certainly a "Thick headed fly", and could welll be an example of Orthoceratium lacustre, which is certainly not that common. One thing for sure though is that this fly is female.

A couple of interesting? facts for you about this group of flies.
A Dolichopolid fly's eye (which was 45million years old and caught in amber resin) was looked at recently with a view to aid modern science - the anti-reflecting coat on the fly's eye (used to help the fly see in low light levels) is being mimicked by scientists for modern day Solar panels - to raise the efficiency of such devices.

Not interesting enough?

Ok. How about this then?
One species of "Thick Headed flies" has been given the scientific name :

Campsicnemius charliechaplini Evenhuis,

to honour Charlie Chaplin of course.
Because the fly has a habit of flying around with its middle legs in a bandy, Charlie Chaplinesque fashion.

There you go.
Thick-headed flies are more interesting than you thought!
NB. A day later (07/02/08) After a little more research, this fly is stranger than I thought.
It IS a dolichopodid fly, and it certainly is a female Liancalus virens - a fly which is not at all common but locally common around fast-flowing streams and waterfalls? Eh? I wouldn't call that oily drainage ditch t'other side of the rec, clean or fast-flowing, and the slow Thames is a mile away. How weird?

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