The NADS Field Meeting are being held at the New Ebenezer Retreat
and Conference Center, Rincon, Georgia. The last issue of the Fly
Times gave some information regarding the meeting. Here's some
Registration fee is $45 (late fee after April 21 is $55) and accommodation
for the full program is $76 if you want share a dorm room (16 beds/room),
$100 for shared double occupancy and $156 if you want a single room
all to yourself. Meals cost $73. If you can only make it for part
of the time accommodation is $19/night for the dorms, $25 for the
shared double and $39 for a single. Meals run $20/day.
All of the above can be paid by Traveller's Cheques, MasterCard,
VISA or cheques drawn on a US bank.
Here's the itinerary for the meetings:
May 3: registration, local collecting.
May 4: Welcome, announcements, invitational address "Disseminating
Diptera Data: Getting the Goods to the Users" by Dr. Chris
Thompson, group photo, collecting at various sites in the area,
NADS wine and cheese in the evening.
May 5: Field trips during the day, talks in the evening.
May 6: Collecting during the day; evening: business meeting, plans
for 1999, barbecue, process day's collection, more presentations.
May 7: check out, lunch.
Field trips are as follows (depending on number of subscribers:
Okefenokee Swamp (4 hours travel time); Sand Ridge communities (2
hours travel time); Savannah National Wildlife Refuge (2 hours travel
time); Coastal Georgia Barrier Island (3 hours travel time); Tour
of Georgia Southern University Biology/ National Tick Collection
(2 hours travel time). Transportation costs are included in the
registration fee (good deal!).
The deadline for title and abstract submissions is April 21. Titles
and abstracts of papers or posters may be submitted by e-mail or
FAX to Dan Hagan (see address below).
For further information contact Dan at the following:
Dr. D.V. Hagan, Dept. of Biology, Institute of Arthropodology and
Parasitology, Georgia Southern College, Statesboro, Georgia, 30460-8042,
WWW at http://www.bio.gasou.edu
The next Biting Fly Workshop will be held on June 4-6, 1997 at
the Niobrara Valley Preserve located east of Valentine, Nebraska.
See the last issue of the Fly Times for further details.
For more information contact Wayne at the following:
Dr. W. Kramer
State of Nebraska Dept. of Health,
301 Centennial Mall South,
P.O. Box 95007,
The next Congress will be held in Oxford, England on September
6-13, 1998. The scientific program has not been determined in detail
but will likely include sessions on: Morphology, physiology and
ultrastructure; Medical, veterinary and forensic Diptera; Agricultural
Diptera; Behaviour and ecology; Biodiversity and conservation; Advances
in systematics; Cytology and genetics; Control; Collections and
Sections will be organised according to the level of interest in
individual topics. Taxon-based workshops will be arranged as in
previous Congresses, based on the interests expressed by delegates.
The first circular has already been sent and if you haven't received
this and want to be sure to receive the second circular, due out
in May, 1997 (or want any other information) contact the congress
administration as follows:
Oxford International, ICD4,
Oxford, OX2 7LG, United Kingdom.
Phone: +44 1865 511550
FAX: +44 1865 511570
Provisional costs are as follows:
- Registration fee: £190
- Accommodation for six nights in Keble College (bed, breakfast
and lunch) £222-252, with dinner also available at Keble
- Hotel accommodation for 6 nights £600-750 per person, bed
- Congress banquet: £28/person.
by Mike E. Irwin
The last meeting of the North American Dipterists Society was held
at Louisville, KY, during the evening of December 9, 1996. The gathering
was sponsored as an informal conference by the Entomological Society
of America at their annual meeting. The program was put together
by Jon Gelhaus and moderated by Mike Irwin.
Two informal talks were presented:
Michael E. Irwin presented a paper entitled "Spermathecae
and associated tissues of the female terminalia hold promise for
constructing a higher-level classification of the Therevidae (Diptera:
Mark Metz presented a paper entitled "Differential variation
of body and genitalia size in a species of Ozodiceromyia
nr. nanella (Cole) (Diptera: Therevidae)."
These informal talks stimulated some discussion, after which conversation
was shifted to projects currently underway on Diptera. Before adjournment
where even more informal discussions were held, Brian Wiegmann of
North Carolina State University agreed to chair the meeting at the
next Entomological Society meeting. The next ESA meeting will occur
between 14 and 18 December, 1997 in Memphis, Tennessee.
by Jeff Cumming
In the 1996 October issue (Fly Times 17:16) we announced
the formation of a Diptera TWIG (or Taxonomic Working Group) for
the ongoing ATBI initiative in the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste
(ACG) in northwestern Costa Rica. This initiative was to be organized
primarily through the Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio).
However, in November, 1996 INBio announced its decision to discontinue
with the ATBI stating that the political, economic and institutional
conditions were not present to conduct and sustain such a large
and complex inventory in the ACG. Negotiations are still ongoing
between INBio and the donor countries to continue inventory work
on some of the large insect orders, including Diptera, at the national
level. Manuel Zumbado, Monty Wood and I will attempt to keep dipterists
informed of any opportunities to work on Costa Rican flies as these
new developments unfold.
For further information contact http://www.inbio.ac.cr/ATBI/ATBILetter.html.
by Art Borkent
The Phylogeny of the Diptera Project was initiated in 1990 (see
Fly Times 5) to provide an up to date synthesis of
the cladistic relationships of Diptera at the infrafamilial level.
This international project has now been terminated. Due to a combination
of factors, including continuing delays in receiving contributions
for many families and difficulties in obtaining speedy reviews of
submitted manuscripts, it has been decided that the submitted manuscripts
could not be held in good conscience. These manuscripts have been
returned to the contributing authors and I hope that all these will
be published through journals in the near future.
I want to extend my sincere thanks to those authors who did submit
manuscripts and wish them well in their efforts to publish elsewhere.
by Curtis W. Sabrosky and Wayne N. Mathis
In the April 1996 issue of Fly Times, Steve Marshall asked
"Is there anyone out there who still prefers minuten-pinned
specimens?" We answer with a resounding "YES!" Several
angles are involved, and it seems desirable also to discuss card-point
mounts and specimens glued directly to the side of a pin. [We will
use "glue" as a short expression for affixing material
At the outset, please recognize that any method, however good in
the hands of an expert, can be misapplied by someone using a poor
selection of glue or substandard technique, whether carelessly or
with the best of intentions. What an expert uses skilfully is up
to him. But a method that is recommended for general use may be
used by others who are untrained, unsupervised, and dependent on
what they read, understand, and apply with available materials.
Card-point mounts. If the choice is a card point, all sorts
of glues may be used, often simply depending on availability. The
point method is quick, cheap, and when carefully done can result
in satisfactory mounts. But there are possible drawbacks. Too much
glue can bury specimens and conceal taxonomically useful features.
Water-soluble glues can soften in a relaxing chamber and specimens
may roll over, getting more gummed up or even falling off the mount
if relatively heavy, or long, and the amount of glue small. If the
surface of the glue dries too much, e.g., if too many points are
tipped with glue before specimens are mounted, some of those specimens
may simply adhere to the surface film without being firmly affixed.
Then the card point becomes a springboard from which a specimen
may easily pop off when jarred or the pin ticked. Finally, some
glues tend to permeate the mesothorax--the usual attachment of a
card point--and may discolor or grease the thorax and thereby spoil
the color of the microtomentum, and any pattern may be obscured
or indecipherable (as warned long ago by Cresson 1913 and Sabrosky
Gluing directly to the body of the main pin. Every warning
about glue in the preceding paragraph applies here also, but even
more because card points may touch only the legs, or only the coxae,
whereas direct gluing almost always involves most of the pleuron.
This increases the possibility of soaking up the entire thorax with
some glues. Moreover, usually an entire side is covered up, or at
the very least difficult to see because of the large pin. We have
found this method especially undesirable when for some reason the
characters of the pleuron are messed up on the one visible side,
and it would have been exceedingly helpful to study the other side,
now covered up in whole or in part. This has been found to be an
especial handicap in tiny and delicate flies like those of Stenomicra,
where even a small amount of glue can discolor a whole thorax and
obscure the entire pleuron.
Minuten mounts. This is admittedly the most expensive of
the methods, involving as it does an additional pin, a minuten,
and the time to make the double mount. Regardless, we believe that
this method results in far and away the best specimens for study.
In particular, dipterists who mount their own material should certainly
value highly the quality of the end product. The critical factor
here is that one should avoid using minutens on dried or semi-dried
specimens, as warned by Sabrosky (1937). Enough body juices must
be present within a target specimen so that firm bonding with the
minuten will result. Further, minutens carefully pinned through
the upper part of the pleural suture, below the wing base and between
the anepisternum and anepimeron, will not damage areas or structures
In the field, long series can usefully be handled by combining
methods, using minutens for an adequate series and preserving the
rest in alcohol for later retrieval and mounting on card points.
Cresson, E.T., Jr. 1913. Collecting and mounting micro-Diptera.
Entomol. News 24: 8-12.
Marshall, S. 1996. Mounting techniques. Fly Times 16.
Sabrosky, C.W. 1937. On mounting micro-Diptera. Entomol. News
48: 102-107, 4 text figs.
by Terry A. Wheeler
We have had some recent discussions of preferred mounting techniques
for small Diptera (see Steve Marshall, Fly Times 16:
3 and Graham Griffiths, Fly Times 17: 7) and I want
to add my two cents. I started my Dipterological career at the University
of Guelph, where pointing was the accepted practice. Two years of
postdoctoral work at CNC in Ottawa taught me that gluing your flies
to the sides of pins with Harold Walther's Secret Recipe Shellac
is the only way to go. I have since gone back to points for a variety
of reasons. I have also dealt with minuten mounted specimens, both
old and new.
Time and cost
Like it or not, the limiting factors in how most of us deal with
specimens are time and money. Gluing to the side of a pin is the
fastest and cheapest technique, with pointing slightly slower because
of the extra step in "pinning the point". Double mounting
is the most expensive and time consuming process. The differences
may not be appreciable to a casual collector, but to anyone involved
in large scale collecting, survey work and inventories, the differences
This brings up another issue, that of who will do the mounting.
Most of us just do not have the time do all our own mounting. Anyone
involved with large projects involving thousands of specimens must
depend on students, technicians, volunteers, etc. to get the specimens
out of the jars and into the drawers. Thus, the question becomes
"what method is most difficult to screw up, and most forgiving
if you do?" Graham Griffiths has pointed out the major difficulty
with gluing flies to the sides of pins - too much glue is used at
the wrong place and the whole fly is firmly attached, abdomen and
all. This is clearly unacceptable if dissection is required. The
opposite situation is also a problem. I have seen large series of
specimens glued to pins with too little glue. The result is that
the glue, present as a small flake on just one side of the pin,
detaches from the pin and drops off when the unit tray is jarred.
Care must be taken to ensure that the glue surrounds, or almost
surrounds the pin, giving a better grip. I think there is a little
more leeway when using points. It is easier for newly trained staff
to get a feel for how much glue has to be used to attach a specimen
to a point (although I'm sure we can all tell nightmarish stories
about the potential holotype that ended up encased in "Elmer's
amber"). Also, because the part of a point that contacts the
specimen is smaller than the glued side of a pin, there is less
likelihood that big portions of the specimen will be immediately
covered with glue.
Points are more forgiving with specimen orientation. One of the
drawbacks of gluing to pins is that much of one side of the specimen
is obscured. This can be an even bigger problem if the specimen
is not oriented exactly perpendicular to the pin. With a point glued
to the side of the thorax, much of the glued side of the fly remains
visible. This is still the case if the fly is tilted slightly up
Points can be attached to larger pins (size 2, 3). Direct gluing
requires small pins for small specimens, to keep structures visible.
Using very small pins (000, 00) has inherent problems. Skinny pins
are difficult to insert into unit trays with hard bottoms, and can
become tiny accordions if you try to get them into cork-bottomed
boxes. These skinny pins also have the tendency to be transformed
into tiny vaulting poles at the slightest contact, thereby launching
the attached specimen airborne.
Graham Griffiths has pointed out that the muscles of fresh specimens
will contract around a minuten pin and hold the specimen steady.
Unfortunately, there is relatively little muscle there and the small
amount of lateral movement involved in snipping off the abdomen,
even in a relaxed specimen may be sufficient to start the fly spinning.
Another problem is that more and more specimens are not mounted
"fresh". With the increasing use of critical point driers
or chemicals, many specimens are dried before they are mounted.
While this results in specimens that are much easier to dissect
and identify, I doubt if they would provide much grip on a minuten
pin. I think minutens are only practical with air dried (and therefore
brittle and shriveled) or possibly freeze-dried material
Repairing the damage
The worst case scenario is that a specimen does get knocked loose
or knocked off the mount. A double mounted fly gets jarred and becomes
a tiny carousel animal, whole specimens get knocked off points or
pins. Here again, I prefer pointed or direct glued specimens. A
fly knocked off a point or pin can usually be glued back on with
relatively little damage. The odd wing or leg that remains attached
to the mount can be re-glued to the upper surface of the point or
left in the original location on the pin. Double mounts are not
so forgiving. These specimens must be left spinning, or remounted
on a point or pin, in which case they are left with a hole in the
There is always some potential hazard associated with dissecting
genitalia, even after relaxation. Specimens mounted with shellac
seem to have the most give in the glue and therefore less tendency
to drop off. White glue is a little more brittle. I don't like double
mounts because there is much less room for movement before the spinning
starts. My ideal specimen for genitalic preparation is one that
has been critical point dried and mounted on a point. It remains
flexible enough that relaxation is often not required, I can get
at the abdomen from both sides, there is slightly more "give"
in a point before the specimen is jarred loose, and even if everything
else goes wrong, I can easily remount the specimen if I do knock
by Harold Walther
Note: In the above
article, Terry refers to "Harold Walther's Secret Recipe
Shellac". The editors have asked Harold to let the world
know what he puts into his concoction, which he kindly agreed
to do, as follows:
Ingredients: 250 ml. Pure White Shellac, 20 ml. 75% Ethyl Alcohol
Boil Shellac in a porcelain dish that has a pourout lip. Heat Shellac
to a rolling boil and stir constantly while boiling for approximately
20 minutes, or until Shellac becomes foamy. Stir while adding the
75% Ethanol and boil for another 5 minutes, or until mixture becomes
foamy again. Remove from heat and immediately pour into screw cap
vials. I use 1 Dram (15X45 mm.) size vials, and this amount of Shellac
makes approximately 22 vials of Gel. Gel should have consistency
of Vaseline and be soft enough to allow movement of specimens when
mounting them on pins. The dish and glass stirring rod can be cleaned
immediately using Methyl Alcohol as solvent. Methyl Alcohol is the
solvent in Shellac. Gel may be thinned. If left open to the air
for extended periods of time, it may get too thick. Add a drop of
75% Ethanol and stir in vial with pin. This may not be completely
satisfactory but may be used to salvage partial vials of Gel. White
Shellac may be purchased at most hardware stores. Brand names such
as BULLDOG or HOME or SHEFFIELD are good choices.
"What's the use of their having names," the Gnat said,
"if they won't answer to them?"
"No use to them," said Alice, "but it's useful to
the people that name them, I suppose. If not, why do things have
names at all?"
from "Through the
Looking Glass" by Lewis Carroll
by Larry W. Quate
As with many Neotropical countries, Surinam requires collecting
permits for the collection and export of insect specimens. For anyone
planning field work in Surinam, I am providing the following information
based on my visit there in September, 1996.
Surinam offers an abundance of primary, lowland tropical forests.
Two national preserves offer easy access and reasonable accommodations
to biotypes at elevations less than 100 meters and up to 450 meters.
Advance planning will expedite utilization of these areas.
Brownsberg Nature Park (N 04° 47'W 55° 11') about 100
kilometers south of Paramaribo (para- mari-bo), the capital city,
occupies a mountain overlooking Afobaka Dam, Surinam's major hydroelectric
plant. Park headquarters are on a plateau at about 450 m and offers
several dormitories with individual rooms holding 2-4 bunks, several
cabins, and staff quarters. Well marked trails lead out in all directions
from the headquarters and lead downhill to the east, west and north;
the road and trails also meander across the plateau. Collecting
opportunities abound in the rich and undisturbed forests surrounding
This is a popular destination for students on vacation and accommodations
are full during school holidays. If one is adverse to crowds of
energetic students, work at Brownsberg should be scheduled during
Raleighvallen is in lowland forest some 170 km SW of Paramaribo
(N 04° 43' W 56° 12'). Headquarters are on Fungoe Island
in the Coppename River, adjacent to a dirt airstrip which accommodates
the small chartered planes flown out of Paramaribo by Air Surinam.
A small village of about 6 families houses the permanent staff manning
the station. In addition to their huts, there is a large thatched,
open air building with a kitchen, dining hall and several small
rooms each holding four bunks. The water temperature of the river
is ideal for bathing.
The forest on Fungoe Island can be covered in a couple of hours,
but unlimited expanses stretch away from the shores. The staff has
several dugout canoes with outboard motors and provide transportation
in either direction from the island and provide convenient access
to the vast forests bordering the river.
The first contact should be 'STINASU', a quasi-official department
within the Division of Forestry. Translated, the acronym means Foundation
for Nature Preservation in Surinam, and it is charged with supporting
education, research, and preservation of natural resources in Surinam.
Most of their time seems to be spent accommodating local tourists
who wish to visit Brownsberg and Raleighvallen. They will make travel
arrangements and reserve accommodations at the two preserves. They
also furnished two men who accompanied me to Raleighvallen.
The Dept. of Conservation, Division of Forestry issues collecting
permits. At least six months, preferably one year, in advance, an
outline of the planned research should be submitted and an application
requested. The initial request should include enough information
on affiliations and qualifications to permit verification of applicants
capability of conducting the research.
There are no restaurants at any of the stations and it is necessary
to take all food and drink with you. There are a number of grocery
stores in Paramaribo and reasonable selection of food supplies is
not difficult to find.
Most of the country is primary forest and no interior settlements
offer living accommodations. With the assistance of a tour company,
it is possible to reach many interior areas. There are a number
of airstrips that can be reached by charter plane. All are near
rivers and Indian villages. Dugout canoes with outboard motors can
be rented at the villages and the river highways provide unlimited
travel opportunities. Camps are set up on the river bank at the
end of a day. The tour company will arrange plane charter, boat
hire and provide all camping equipment and food. There are a number
of tour companies, but the one that impressed me is Cardy Adventure
Tours, owned and operated by Dyon Small and his wife. Dyon is a
former employee of STINASU, knows the country, appreciates biological
studies and has the contacts to make all arrangements for upcountry
travel and work.
As a former Dutch colony, the 'lingua franca' is Dutch, but English
is widely spoken and understood, so English speakers have no trouble
The country's money is the Surinamese guilder, worth about 30 cents
US. However, American dollars are widely accepted and sometimes
preferred. The hotel bill can be paid in US $, the men that worked
for me preferred the same (STINASU sets their wages at US $10/day).
Only American Express credit cards were accepted (no one would
accept VISA or Mastercard).
Paramaribo holds two good hotels, the moderately prices Krasnopolsky
at about $60 US per day and the expensive Torrarica. Adventuresome
tourists with a limited budget often stay at the YWCA, but this
is patronized by the locals and rooms are seldom available without
The Zoological Collections at the University of Surinam, on the
outskirts of Paramaribo, has modest invertebrate collections. The
only entomologist on the staff is Bart De Dijn, a Belgian studying
social bees for his PhD thesis. Bart is energetic and enthusiastic
and biologists should make an effort to meet him. He enjoys the
foreign contact and can be helpful.
Surinam is reasonably safe, but it did go through a revolution
from 1985-1990. A few of the visitor requirements of the military
regime persist. I had an unpleasant experience of being told by
an Army officer checking passports on my departure that I had not
checked with the police and would not be allowed to leave until
I had. He showed me a stamp in my passport showing some dutch abbreviations
and a date about one week after I entered and stated that I had
been instructed to check in with the police. I finally persuaded
him that since no one had informed me of this requirement, I should
not be forced to miss my plane. This regulation may be dropped,
but visitors should be alert to this possible requirement.
Names, addresses, and FAX numbers of relevant persons:
Dr. F.L.J. Baal, Nature Conservation Division, Surinam Forest Service,
Cornelius Jongbawstraat 10, Postbox 436, Paramaribo, FAX (597) 410
256, phone (597) 479 431 and 475 845.
Dr. Muriel Held, Director, STINASU, Surinam Forest Service, Cornelius
Jongbawstraat 10, Postbox 436, Paramaribo, FAX (597) 410 256, phone
(597) 475 845/471 856/476 597.
Dr. Carlo R. Julen, Deputy Director of Forestry and Nature Conservation/
Acting Head of Surinam Forest Service, Cornelius Jongbawstraat 10,
Postbox 436, Paramaribo, FAX (597) 410 256, phone (597) 474 346/471
Dyon F. Small, Cardy Adventures, Heerenstraat 19, P.O. Box 2083,
Paramaribo FAX (597) 410 555, phone (597) 422 518.
Mr. Bart De Dijn, National Collections of Surinam, University of
Surinam, University Complex, PO Box 9212, Paramaribo. Phone (597)
465 558 (ext. 320).
Amilia Pucat wrote to say "My almost 22 years at Agriculture
and Agri-Food Canada are coming to an end. Before that I studied
for many years and taught for more than 10 years. March 27, 1997
will be my last day of work
On April 1, 1997 our Branch, the Food Production and Inspection
Branch, with some 4,500 employees, plus many employees from Health
Canada and others from fisheries and Oceans Canada, will become
a Crown Corporation - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Thank you for your cooperation and help during my working years.
For the present I will be in Ottawa, and after I sell my house I
will move to Edmonton, Alberta, to be close to my relatives."
Amilia may be reached as follows:
1106 Clyde Ave.
Ottawa, ON, K2C 1Y2
Phone: (613) 226-3210
All the best in your retirement
by Jon Gelhaus
Position: Postdoctoral Scientist, Insect Systematist.
Announcement no. 564.
Issue date: March 27, 1997.
Closing date: April 25, 1997 or until filled.
The Biodiversity Group of the Academy of Natural Sciences seeks
an insect systematist to participate in a research program focusing
on the morphology, systematics and biogeography of Diptera (crane
Desired attributes: Ph.D. in biology. Strong background in systematic
and biogeographic theory and application. Demonstrated ability in
morphological character analysis of Diptera (preferably crane flies,Tipuloidea).
Demonstrated ability in phylogenetic and biogeographic analysis.
Excellent communication skills. Field collecting experience. Ability
to work independently, in team settings and to direct the work of
Suitable candidate may also have opportunities to participate in
other systematic and applied ecology research projects at the Academy
of Natural Sciences. Competitive salary and benefits. Position available
Spring 1997 for 18 month commitment.
Send cover letter, CV, representative publications and names, addresses,
phone numbers/e-mail addresses of 3 references to:
Dr. Jon K. Gelhaus, Vice President
Academy of Natural Sciences
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1195
by Jeff Cumming
Diptera, Tree of Life:
Diptera Unit, Smithsonian Institution:
Newsletters and Homepages
The Chironomid Home Page:
Stiletto Flies - Therevidae:
Directory of North American Dipterists:
Directory of Chironomid Workers:
Diptera Types in the Canadian National Collection of Insects.
Part 1. Nematocera:
Diptera Types in the Canadian National Collection of Insects.Part
2. Brachycera (excl. of Schizophora):
Diptera Types in the Canadian National Collection of Insects.
Part 4. Tachinidae:
Catalog of the Diptera of the Australasian and Oceanian Regions:
Catalogue of the Fossil Flies of the World (Insecta: Diptera):
Costa Rican Diptera:
Biting Flies Attacking Man and Livestock in Canada: