Tephritis praecox

    Description

    Wing Length 1.8 to 3.2 mm. Black oviscape. Legs orange with black marks on femora. Wing pattern is used in identification.

    Habitat

    The habitat preferences of this species are unclear. In Israel, it has been reared from field marigold (Calendula arvensis) and it has also been reared from Calendula species elsewhere.

    The insect may be associated with composites related to field marigold (Calendula arvensis) or with garden plants or escapes (pot marigold, Calendula officinalis, would be the most likely host).

    UK Status

    Red Data Book 1.  There are old records from Mudeford, Dorset (undated) and Aldeburgh, Suffolk (1907) and these led to the species being regarded as a vagrant (Falk 1991). More recently, it has been found in a Malaise trap placed in a garden in Newhaven, West Sussex (Jones 2004) and it now appears to be established in Britain.  Almost all the records to date have come from the south coast. 

    (The centre of its European distribution is the Mediterranean and it is known from the Canary Islands to Afghanistan, but it has recently spread to Austria and Switzerland.)

    VC55 Status

    Virtually all the British records are from the south coast of England, however in addition to the record below another individual was found during a terrestrial invertebrate survey of land at Bardon Hill, Leicestershire during August & September 2008.

    Further Information

    Falk, S.J. (1991) A review of the scarce and threatened flies of Great Britain (Part 1). Research & Survey in Nature Conservation No. 39. Nature Conservancy Council.

    Jones, R. (2004) Tephritis praecox (Loew)(Diptera, Tephritidae) established in Britain. Dipterists Digest 11 (1): 16

    Aggregate Industries (2009) Bardon Hill Quarry Extension – Terrestrial Invertebrates – Baseline Survey and Evaluation – November 2009 – 403-0275-00089/TInv   (http://www.leics.gov.uk/downloaddatabasefile?file=10199)

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map