Welcome to my blog

This is where I post various musings about wildlife and ecology, observations of interesting species (often invertebrates)
and bits of research that grab my attention. As well as blogging, I undertake professional ecological & wildlife surveys
covering invertebrates, plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians and some mammals, plus habitat assessment and management
. I don't work on planning applications/for developers. The pages on the right will tell you more about my work,
main interests and key projects, and you can follow my academic work here.

Monday 9 June 2014

Long-legged lovers from lakeside leaves

After holidays, after the backlog of work I returned to... it's time for flies - in particular the genus Dolichopus in the family Dolichopodidae (long-legged flies). As well as long legs, most male 'dolis' have very large genitalia, but a post title focusing on that feature might reach the wrong audience... Anyhow, I was watching what I think is D. popularis (there are several similar species in the genus) when I noticed courtship behaviour - so, out came the camera to document a romantic photo-story...

A single Dolichopus
Two males court one female (on the left)
One male is driven off, the other courts the female by standing on long legs over her and rapidly beating his wings.
He tried to mate but was rebuffed (he would dart behind her, but she moved away and turned round), so back to the courting.
This time his efforts were sufficient and the female permits mating.
Female post-mating.
Male post-mating - the large structure bent down from the rear of the abdomen is his genitalia.
Male post-mating.

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