The arrival of summer is usually a time for increased fieldwork in the Natural Sciences Department and this year was no different, despite COIVD regulation making the process a bit more complicated. In November, Dr John Midgley, along with Dr Terence Bellingan from the Albany Museum, undertook a field trip to the Zululand forests in KwaZulu-Natal. While the temperatures were definitely summery, the weather was still dry, meaning that may insects were not at peak activity yet.
The less than ideal weather meant that overall diversity was low, but a few rare specimens were still found. The most exciting was a species of hoverfly last collected in South Africa in about 1858. The exact date is not known, possibly because the collector died of malaria during his expedition. Luckily, modern field collecting is not as dangerous and the team made it back to Pietermaritzburg with a decent number of specimens.
John Midgley collecting in the grasslands at oNgoye Forest (photo Terence Bellingan)
Terence Bellingan at Entumeni Forest collecting insects next to a small stream (photo John Midgley)
#flies #hoverflies #diptera #syrphidae #entomology #insects #museum