Submitted by AJ Cann on Sun, 06/08/2017 - 08:44

Crataerina pallida

We keep adding new species to NatureSpot, and a recent addition has an interesting story attached to it. More...

Erica McAlister (Natural History Museum, author of "The Secret Life of Flies") helped us identify Crataerina pallida. These flies are blood-feeding ectoparasites of Apus apus (Swift) and sometimes other Hirundines (Swallow family). They are usually found on the birds themselves or in their nests. Although these flies are believed to be relatively common, they are rarely recorded because they are normally found on the birds or in their nests. This one was found by Andrew Dejardin outside Empingham Village Shop. Andy was able to fill in some details which helps explain its presence:

"The bell-tower of St Peter's church is directly opposite the village shop in Empingham and there are many nesting birds there and we have a reasonably healthy swift population in the village too. The village shop has night-time security lights, so every morning when I collect my paper at 7am they will tell me of any moths and other insects that are about."

Keeping his eyes open in the village shop has also allowed Andy to be a frequent contributor to the NatureSpot Flickr group.