I know where to get help for outdoor barkflies, but does anyone at NHM know how to identify the indoor ones?
I have a specimen (alive at present). I don't know of a key.
Any advice please?
You can send the specimen to the Identification Service, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD. Tell us where you found it.
(I thought this thread was dead!)
I'll post it in, though the barkfly is now dead, it is in alcohol preservative, so will hopefully be okay.
I'll include location details in the package.
Can I just check that the item has been received intact and usable.
I'm sorry to reply so late. Thanks for the specimen - it arrived here 10 days ago, but stupid me didn't make the connection between it and this thread. I meant to send a letter to the address on the envelope. I apologise.
It is, as you suspected, a booklouse in the family - Trogiidae, just not Lepinotus. It is in fact a Trogium pulsatorium. Its creamy yellow body has very characteristic markings, not seen in Lepinotus: median longitudinal reddish brown stripe over the head and partial bands of similar colour across the abdomen.
You can compare your photos with the set of images on this page, and also with this larger photo. Cerobasis sp. are two species in the same family having strongly marked heads, but different from Trogium. Trogium also has broad apical segments of maxillary palps. You can see this pretty well in the large photo on Wikimedia, as well on some of your photos. Sadly I can't take such close-ups.
Trogium pulsatorium is usually associated with domestic environments, in many places in Britain and in the world. Females produce an audible ticking noise by tapping the end of their abdomen, hence the 'death watch' folk tale. This and other species of Trogium also live in natural habitats, in leaf litter and dead foliage.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you want me to post the specimen and the disc back to you.
Thank you very much for the ID. No, I don't want the specimen or disk back.
I am relieved that my method of using the pot with the specimen placed in Isopropyl alcohol actually worked. I was worried that it might leak, or some other distaster might befall it in the post.
It should be a common enough domestic species, but the NBN map reveals no recent UK records. Is some organisation holding on to them? It won't be via National Barkfly Recording Scheme (BRC) because they couldn't advise me.
And finally, what do I do with the record? I normally send my records (just about anything) to the appropriate national scheme recorder, or to my local records centre in Carlisle.
As an extra, my local records centre has asked for an actual name for the "determiner" column.
Sorry to reply so late. I don't know who records this species, and why the BRC wouldn't record it. My name is Florin Feneru.
Is it too late to change my mind? I would like the specimen back, if it's not too late!
Thanks for letting me know. It's in the post now, and you should get it in about two days. I've changed the liquid and it's now in ethanol 70%.