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Fly in sprinter

August 10, 2016

Female Muscid fly on Bent-leaf Wattle

No, the title doesn’t refer to the Olympics, but instead to that intermediate ‘season’ between winter and spring, ‘sprinter’ being a term we recently heard coined by Professor Tim Entwisle from the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria on Radio National during a fascinating program titled In Season about the changing nature of our seasons. Few insect pollinators are active over the winter months, but sprinter is a time when occasional fine sunny days get native insects active and they start to be seen on the few native plants in flower locally at this time of year.

We spotted the fly pictured above on a Bent-leaf Wattle (Acacia flexifolia) in our garden and with a bit more searching we discovered a few other native wild pollinators as well as the introduced European Honey Bee which, given its origins in colder climes, can readily cope with lower temperatures.

With help from Manu at the Wild Pollinator Count and Tony D. on the Bowerbird website we think our fly is from the family Muscidae, possibly from the genus Helina. What we also learnt from Manu is that the gender of a fly can be determined from the placement of its eyes – the male’s eyes meet in the middle of its forehead looking from above, whereas the female’s eyes are set apart.

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