A couple of months ago, I came across this female horsefly laying eggs on a dead grass stem on the south slope of the North Downs in Surrey. Tentatively, I identified it as Hybomitra bimaculata. What interested me was that the site was a sun-baked slope, probably at least a mile from any standing water. I was under the impression that horsefly larvae needed at least damp earth if not an actual pond in which to develop. Could someone confirm (or deny) my imdent and maybe comment on the larval development of this species?
That looks very much like Tabanus glaucopis, the Downland Horsefly, which as its English name suggests is known from dry habitats. It is an uncommon species but there are records from the Surrey downs. If you don't mind letting me have the details of date and location it would be good to have the record for the recording scheme - add the details to this thread, or else add the whole record to iRecord or iSpot.
And that's a superb photo - would it be possible to include it in the next recording scheme newsletter?
Soldierflies and Allies Recording Scheme
Thanks very much Martin for your horsefly ident. The shot (plus several others) was taken on 14 August 2013 at around midday. The site was Denbies Hillside, close to Ranmore, about halfway down the slope, due south of the carpark. You are welcome to use the shot. I can send a hi res version if you want.
Thanks Kim - the version of the photo this page will be fine, but if you don't mind sending through one or two of your other shots I'd be interested to see them. My email address is given in my user profile.
Martin - your email was not available from your user profile so am sending one more image of the horsefly this way. Unfortunately, it was difficult to get other angles on the fly without disturbing it so the images we obtained tended to be similar. The attached image was taken by my partner using a Fuji camera.
Thank you Kim (sorry about the lack of email address, I guess it must only be visible to me!). I mentioned your find to a colleague, David Baldock (who I think you know?), who is preparing a book on the flies of Surrey. He confirms that you have found a site where this species has not been seen before (he only has five other recent records), and asked if I could forward your photos to him, is that okay? He will contact you if he wants to pursue it for the book.
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