Progress made on pollinating fly conservation by Dr John Midgley
While most people are well aware of the role bees play in pollination, the role of other insects is less appreciated. Many plants in South Africa are not pollinated by bees at all, but rather by a suite of flies. Flies have been noted as important pollinators in many fruits, including mango, avocado and bluberry, and they are the only pollinators of chocolate. On top of this, many plants in our natural environment rely on flies for successful pollination. These flies face a variety of threats, so in 2019 the DIPoDIP project was initated to promote conservation of these vital animals. The KZN Museum has two members of this project, Dr John Midgley who is a local partner and Dr Genevieve Theron, a Post-Doctoral fellow at the Museum.
The project is entering its fifth year and is up for renewal for another five years, so a meeting was held with various people who might have an interest in the project. This offered an opportunity for the project parners to share their results with these stakeholders, but also an opportunity for us to hear from them about needs and skills that can be incorporated into the next funding cycle.
The meeting included partners from the Belgian Developmen Cooperation, the AfricaMuseum, the KwaZulu-Natal Museum, The University of KwaZulu-Natal, Stellenbosch University and the South African National Biodiversity Institute and stakeholders from the National Museum (Bloemfontein), Albany Museum, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, SANParks, SANBI, the WWF, the Karkloof Conservancy, iNaturalist and Ground Truth. Despite the fact that the meeting was short, ther are already some positive results, with plans for Citizen Science projects being drawn up for the next round and the first set of ICUN Red List assessments being drawn up. When these assessments are published later this year, they will be the first assessments of flies for Africa, an important first step in ensuring that they are conserved. The meeting finished off with a demonstration on how to sample flies for local assessments.
Fig 1: Dr Theron presenting to the meeting on the role of flies in pollination
Fig 2: Participants at the first DIPoDIP stakeholders meeting
Fig 3: Dr Midgley demonstrating how to set up a malaise trap to collect flies
#flies #diptera #pollinators #pollination