Last week I gave you this insect to have a go at identifying:
I decided that this didn’t need a cryptic answer, since species in the Order of insects that this belongs to can be quite tricky to identify. The Order is of course the Diptera as this has two wings rather than the four most insects have – that means it’s a true fly (as palfreyman1414 pointed out).
Those pointy but sturdy mouthparts (unlike the pointy and skinny mouthparts of things like mosquitoes) give the family that this fly belongs to one of their common names – this is a type of “dagger fly” in the family Empididae – which you can tell from the antennae structure (three segments with the segment at the end being the longest). That helps narrow it down a little, but after that it’s a case of checking against things like wing veination and pattern – note the black line along the back.
Very well done to Emmanuel and James Bryant who noted these features and hit upon the correct genus. This specimen is Empis stercorea Linnaeus, 1761.
This specimen is actually mounted on a microscope slide, which makes it look a little weird:
The label gives us the species, the sex (female) and the common name of “Corn-fly”, which I’ve seen used for a variety of fly species, but not for one of the Empididae. A bit of searching shows that this name is an old one used for Empis sp. in US catalogues for microscope equipment and mounted insects in the 18th Century.
There’s also a circular mark bearing a Wyvern (a two legged winged dragon), which is presumably a makers mark, although I’ve not yet managed to track down who the maker is.
More mysteries next week!