43. Anthomyzidae – small fry

This may be one of those dreaded fly families about which there really is nothing much to say. Flies of the British Isles has a single page on the family, half of which is the description of its bristles and wing veins. The larvae develop on the leaf sheaths of grasses and rushes but don’t seem to be agriculturally problematic.†

With Tipula maxima for scale

This fly was just a speck pootered up from the net in desperation, all the larger flies having being discarded as uninteresting members of previously found families. There’s not much to see – even less now that the tiny head has somehow pinged off – the pin it is on is so flimsy that it bent trying to push it through a paper label. The thorax and abdomen are black and undistinguished, the remaining legs are yellow and the wing has what I am coming to think of as the bog-standard acalypterate pattern – three longitudinal veins, a couple of cross veins, and a couple of smaller veins that don’t quite reach the wing margin. Yet under high magnification, perhaps even this minnow has some charm. The leading edge of the wing is fringed with evenly spaced tiny hairs.

Close inspection of the front legs reveals a stylish line of long hairs upon the underside of the femora, and sticking out like a sore thumb, one quirky, thicker bristle, a characteristic of most of the genera in the family. And now I think of it, the yellow legs contrast rather nicely with the rest of the fly. If only the head had stayed on then I might have found some even more endearing features, and I might have been able to put a name to the face.

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