Chasing Hover Flies
In March, John Midgley and Kirstin Williams from the Natural Science Department went on a field trip to the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve near Port Edward. The focus of this trip was to catch a species of hover fly, Syritta londti, which is only known from the type specimen in the museum collection. It was caught by Jason Londt, the retired Director of the KZN Museum, in 1985 in the Umtamvuna Reserve. There are no other specimens of this species in the world! It was very hot and humid and the grassland was quite marshy from recent rain. Apart from trying to find specimens of this hover fly, other types of flies were also targeted, including robber flies, blowflies and bee flies. The diversity of flies was very low despite good rain.
It was hard work in the hot conditions, but John successfully caught three specimens of Syritta londti making it only the second time that this species has ever been caught! These specimens will be added to the museum collection and the records will be used in the research project that JohnMidgley is involved in with colleagues from Belgium.