Wednesday 9 September 2009

Emerald swingers and my new flat mate

Our last Dorset survey of the year turned out better than expected, with a total of 13 species for the day. We were helped in no small way by several hours of sunshine, which meant that the dragons were flying before we'd started, a luxury that we'd not experienced for many a visit. Migrant Hawkers hunted over a small lake, Common Hawkers patrolled a wide ditch and Brown Hawkers battled each other for supremacy of the skies. One of these skirmishes saw the combatants end up in the water, still going for it hammer and tongs. We registered a single female Southern Hawker, and only Common Blue and Emerald Damsels in any numbers. Whilst there were still a few Black Darters and Keeled Skimmers about, the Common Darters were all loved up and egg laying in many of the water bodies.
My invertebrate education continued apace, when a strange fly appeared on my hand. It was the very devil to shift and scuttled sideways, like a spider or crab, when I tried to remove it. I did check how many legs it had to be sure. Six, yep it's a fly, though oddly it only had one wing, a fact that took on more significance when my colleague informed me what it was. Welcome to the weird and wacky world of the flat fly, aka louse fly, a parasite that sheds its wings when it has found a suitable host. Charmed to meet you, I'm sure.
Back in MK, and several showers later, I could almost see the funny side.

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