Tag Archives: Diptera

Open spaces: A new species of fly from the Yukon

There’s a little genus of small, rare flies that live in bird nests. They’re called Neossos, and a few years ago one of my former undergraduate students, Gregor Gilbert, pulled together what was known about the taxonomy and ecology of … Continue reading

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Suburban biodiversity: surprising flies in the neighborhood

Christine Barrie, a grad student in the lab, found a fly she couldn’t put a name on. Other students in the lab had trouble too. So did I. It looked familiar, but it didn’t key out in the standard North … Continue reading

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How many people does it take to describe a new species?

The Myth of the Solitary Taxonomist goes a bit like this: Solitary Taxonomist goes away to an exotic place, usually with at least one hazard to life and limb, usually land leeches. Collects a specimen. Recognizes it immediately as a … Continue reading

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High fliers: a new paper on some new arctic flies

Many people see the arctic as a pretty barren place, with not much biological diversity. In fact, one of the most well-known patterns in ecology — the latitudinal diversity gradient — incorporates that idea. As you leave the tropics and … Continue reading

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Who’s that fly and WHAT is it eating? A new paper from the lab

One of the most widely used products of taxonomy is the identification key. A key allows somebody who isn’t a specialist on a particular group to put a name on an unknown species. At least, that’s how it all works … Continue reading

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Revisionist history: new taxonomy of old flies

Taxonomy is a dynamic science. It evolves over time. We collect new specimens, we develop new tools for studying biodiversity, and our theoretical approaches to describing the diversity of life change. All of these developments mean that the names of … Continue reading

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Look up, way up: beetles and flies in the tree tops

Most insect collectors and other insect fans tend to walk through a forest with their eyes focused on the ground at their feet, or low undergrowth, or sunny spots above the path ahead. That’s where a lot of the insects … Continue reading

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The samples of autumn

Most entomologists in this part of the world do their collecting in summer. There are a few reasons for this: insect diversity and activity peak in the summer months up here in the northern temperate; a lot of economically and … Continue reading

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Out of Africa: more strange flies

Preamble: The fly family Chloropidae (the frit flies or grass flies or eye gnats) is one of the most geographically widespread, abundant, species-rich, and ecologically diverse families of flies on Earth. Although almost 3000 species have been described, and some … Continue reading

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Entomology on the road: thoughts on three trips

I haven’t been in the lab much since early June. Summer is the time when the teaching ends and administration tends to slow down, so I can finally devote more of my time to research. A lot of my research … Continue reading

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