Submitted by AJ Cann on Fri, 18/08/2017 - 08:37

Locust Blowfly

One thing Leicestershire has going for it is that plagues of locusts are rare! But if locusts ever do descend on us, the solution may already be here. Read more...

We do get the odd individual locust, often escaped from the pet trade. Grasshoppers we have, locusts - same family, Acrididae - not so much. Eagle-eyed NatureSpotter David Gould recently found a Locust Blowfly (Stomorhina lunata) at Narborough Bog. This is a distinctive mid-sized blowfly which could be mistaken for a hoverfly or Muscid. It has a three dark stripes on the thorax and a strongly protruding lower face. Tergites 3 and 4 have orange patches on the side in males, or grey dust patches in females. The larvae of this species are predators of the egg pod of Acrididae (locusts). In the absence of locusts, it is not thought this species can prey on any British grasshoppers, so all UK records are considered vagrants. This species was once considered rare but now becoming more frequent in southern England and it has been found as far north as Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. Another sign of the changing fauna of VC55. Please let us have any more reports of these wanderers you may see. 

 

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Submitted by Sally Cunningham on Tue, 22/08/2017 - 18:24

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Many years ago when I worked at Leicester University Botanic Garden, one of my student gardener's tasks was to sow trays of wheat for locust fodder. Schools still keep them, and many petshops raise them for reptile food. As adult blowflies were found in Narborough Bog, I'd be looking at Blaby petshop as a possible source....