jeremyr's picture

A Spear-winged fly

Observed: 17th December 2012 By: jeremyrjeremyr’s reputation in Invertebratesjeremyr’s reputation in Invertebratesjeremyr’s reputation in Invertebratesjeremyr’s reputation in Invertebratesjeremyr’s reputation in Invertebrates

about 5mm

Species interactions

No interactions present.


ophrys's picture


Assuming I am right about Lonchoptera, there are 7 species. The key (Smith 1969) starts with a decision on whether the middle tibia has an anteroventral bristle in distal half. Difficult to be sure, but it does not seem to have one.

Then it's a decision about whether the scutellum is intensely black and whether vein a1 ends far beyond the base of the fork in vein m. If the answer to both is no, then you are led to a choice of antennal colour. If all dark (as in this specimen), it is Lonchoptera lutea, which is far the commonest species.

Lonchoptera only from the photos, I suspect.


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jeremyr's picture

middle tibia

some other views of the middle tibia - there appear to be three bristles in all on that section of leg. '..anteroventral bristle in distal half' a bristle very low on the tibia, pointing forward? The scutellum looks quite dark but I'm not sure there's enough venation visible, perhaps image 6.

It's walking about on the outside of the tube as it's a second fly I'd just decided was the same as one collected moments earlier. In fact the one I've just pinned seems to have a reddish thorax and scutellum (making this one look much darker) so might be different, though certainly the same genus.

Yes I know what you'd think of that sort of 'fieldwork'.
The consolation was great views of the live fly in good light on a firm surface with no perspex in the way, for ages. It even walked back into the tube.

Smith (1969) out of print but an ebay listing which ended yesterday was relisted - briefly - today. At a tenner seems almost theft by finding

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ophrys's picture


With only 7's a very thin book!

Leg bristles.... French, but does the job.

Lonchoptera lutea, the common one, is very variable in colour, as far as I know.


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Martin Harvey's picture


Thanks for that link Ophrys, hadn't seen that before.

Entomologist and biological recorder

jeremyr's picture

reference material

a scutellata from south of Copenhagen, confirmed by Walther Gritsch (who some may know from diptera info):

I wonder if anyone's seen one here

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