With the relaxation of international travel restrictions, KwaZulu-Natal Museum scientists are able to share their research with a global audience again. The International Syrphidae Symposium is a biennial meeting where scientists working on hover flies from around the world meet to share ideas and develop new projects and research strategies. Well, usually biennial! The 11th symposium was delayed due the COVID pandemic, but in September 2022 the meeting went ahead.
Hover flies are important members of the global ecosystem, adults visit flower and are important pollinators of generalist plants, while the larvae are either predators (usually on aphids) or decomposers resulting in nutrient recycling.
The KwaZulu-Natal Museum was represented by Dr John Midgley and his collaborators, Dr Terence Bellingan (Albany Museum, Makhanda) and Dr Kurt Jordaens (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium). Between them, they presented three talks and seven posters on the progress of hover fly research in South Africa. The research ranges from taxonomic studies, describing new species from South Africa, to ecological work helping understand how hoverflies use different habitats, to conservation studies and pollination of agricultural plants. Museum specimens and their collection data form an integral part of these studies.
Figure 1: Dr John Midgley with one of the research posters presented at ISS11, describing recently collected species
Figure 2: Dr John Midgley talking about the development of a checklist of South African hover flies