A tach of back pain

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday 28 September 2018 16:22

I wasn't expecting a lifer today as I hobbled to the osteopath. That's what happened though. I spotted this smart looking tachinid on the wall of what used to be the Dyke Road Pub. I had no pots (unusual for me but walking around town in late September doesn't yield great results). I had to make do with my iPhone but this was enough for Chris Raper to come back with Mintho rufiventris before my spine had been cracked. It's quite a nice record being only the 12th for the county and a nationally notable species at that! Thanks to Bob Foreman and Chris Raper with their help on this one.

I've become rather fond of tachinids, they have gruesome life histories mainly developing in the larvae of other insects. Many of them are host specific and there is a really good key and a great national recording scheme website and facebook page. Take a look at the species account for Mintho here. It appears the main host is the pyralid moth Hypsopygia glaucinalis which in turn feeds on decaying vegetable matter. This level of specialisation is good for using the species you survey to tell you about your habitats.

With around 270 species on the British list, they are a manageable group. I rarely take pictures of flies as they are usually swept up before I see them so this might even be the first tachnid that has featured on this blog. I now have 116 records of  26 species so I have only scratched the surface with about 10% of them so far. Think I will concentrate on this group a bit more next summer.

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