Surreybat's picture

Fly on cherry tree

Observed: 22nd April 2011 By: SurreybatSurreybat’s reputation in Invertebrates

This morning we saw a group of these flies with amazingly long antennas flying around the branches of a cherry tree in our garden. The mode of flight was rather like a midge - up and down. The size of the body was about 10mm. Although the submitted photo is blurry it clearly shows the distinctive antenna. Other photos are available showing different aspects. The underside was very hairy and the wings also appeared feathered from below.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which a longhorn moth (Adela reaumurella) interacts


JonathanWallace's picture

Hi Martin There are several

Hi Martin
There are several species of Adela with long antennae and also some other micro moth genera in which males have long antennae (e.g. Nematopogon and Nemophora). Is it possible to be certain that this is A. reamurella and if so what are the clinching characters?

Jonathan Wallace

Martin Harvey's picture


Jonathan, that's a good question, and I have to admit that from this photo it's hard to absolutely certain, but the colour, shape and time of year all point towards Adela reaumurella as the most likely in my opinion. I think the photo does show that the hairs on top of the head are black, which rules out some of the other Adela species, the colour is wrong for Nematopogon and most of the Nemophora species fly later in the year.

It could be one of the other Adela species, but A. cuprella is usually found around sallow trees, and A. rufimitrella is a scarcer species that usually flies a bit later than reaumurella (although they do overlap). A. reaumurella is the one that is by far the most numerous and likely to be seen 'swarming' in a garden at this time of year.

So you are right that my ID is based on a certain degree of circumstantial evidence, and I've gone further than the photographic evidence strictly shows, but I think it is very likely that this is A. reamurella (but perhaps I shouldn't have chosen "I'm as sure as I can be"). Feel free to add a further ID if you think the room for doubt is too great!

Entomologist and biological recorder

JonathanWallace's picture

Hi Martin Thanks for the

Hi Martin
Thanks for the rapid and helpful reply. I am sure your reasoning is sound and I certainly don't have an alternative ID to add. My question was really intended to just understand how you had arrived at your ID. iSpot is a great resource for learning and it's helpful when the more obscure species are identified to get the reasoning for the ID explained.

Jonathan Wallace