I have been enjoying a love affair with bumblebees this year but I did also see some pretty impressive flies too. Here are three of my favourites:
Tachina grossa: The giant tachinid fly is very large (~20mm) and rather distinctive with its jet black, hairy body, bright yellow head and huge eyes. The tachinid flies are parasites; the female lays her eggs on moth or butterfly caterpillars then the fly larvae hatch out and devour their host from the inside out, which isn’t a pleasant thought.
Lucilia cuprina: Nobody likes these flies but this specimen is attractive when seen close up, in my opinion. The female greenbottle fly lays her eggs in meat, fish, corpses, infected wounds and excrement. The maggots feed on decomposing tissue and are occasionally used to debride human tissue. But apart from that… 🙂
Phasia hemiptera: Another member of the tachinid family, this is a stunning fly and looks like something dreamt up by Hans Rudolph Geiger with its metallic wings; the colour indicates that this is a male. Unfortunately, the female parasitises one of my favourite insects, the shield bug.
For us from Cardiff, a Bank Holiday out in the Brecon Beacons meant a train ride to Merthyr Tydfil and two bus journeys but it was a pleasant enough trip. When we arrived at the Information Centre the place was crowded with visitors and the Summer Fayre was in full swing; the stalls distracted us from taking our first walk for a while. In the centre’s secluded garden, where we ate our lunch, there was a herb bed and, amongst the flowering marjoram, fluffy little carder bees, red-tailed and buff or white-tailed bumblebees. Once we set to walk out amongst the bracken and heather we soon saw a few birds and more insects, especially on the thistle flowers. The nearest hills, a gentle three mile stroll from the Centre, were populated with sheep sheltering from the sun under trees and bushes. At the top we enjoyed the stunning views and a quick breather before walking back down to the Centre for a cup of tea and then the bus back.