Dr John Midgley, Assistant Director of Natural Science, has recently returned from teaching the Third Training Course in Taxonomy and Systematics of African Pollinating Flies at the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania. Participants from Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Burundi attended the course and learned how to identify flies to further their research goals.
Many people focus on the problems caused by flies, but they are also valuable pollinators, and the course aims to help people work with beneficial flies across the continent. The skills learned during the course allow participants to study beneficial flies in their own countries and, hopefully, result in better conservation of these important parts of ecosystems.
In the first week, the course focussed on general identification of flies, while in the second week the focus was on identifying pollinating flies. Participants have learned the best ways to collect flies, how to preserve them for study and how to identify them.
The course is a partnership between the AfricaMuseum in Belgium, the KwaZulu-Natal Museum in South Africa, the Natural History Museum in the UK and the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania, and is funded by the Belgian Development Cooperation.
#flies #diptera #pollinators #pollination #kznmuseum
Fig 1: Dr Midgley explaining how to set up a malaise trap to collect flies
Fig 2: Practical demonstration of fly identification