David Gibbs Entomology and Natural History

The Pipunculidae Study Group

This page is intended as a resource for students of this interesting group of flies, particularly to enable dipterists to view the progress of the mapping project. As of now 95 species are on the official British list and one or two Chalarus are known but yet to be published. Although it is a relatively small family, it is highly likely that yet more species await discovery or might colonise this country. Further, ever improving taxonomic knowledge, particularly due to the work of Christian Kehlmaier, will enable cryptic species to come to notice. My key to the genera, originally produced for a BENHS workshop can be found here.

Test keys to British species of Dorylomorpha and Cephalops.

All records

This map gives an idea of the national coverage so far.

 

For a relatively small family that are targeted by rather few dipterists, coverage to date is reasonable. They are elusive flies and being parasitoides usually occur at low densities so many workers can go whole seasons without finding any. At least a few species of Pipunculidae are likely to be found in all British 10km squares except perhaps on the northern isles and very exposed mountains and moorlands. In the absence of woodlands Pipunculidae will be very hard to find, and this explains some of the blank areas. The paucity of records from Ireland is largely due to lack of recording effort, although the fauna here is depauperate compared to Britain. Further, with the exception of a few very conspicuous species, all these records have been checked by me. Because of the considerable difficulty most people encounter with these flies, I have not accepted records unseen.

Can you fill any of these gaps? Please send me your specimens. 

Cephalops

One of the larger genera with a few common species but most are rather local.

 

C. aeneus is one of the commoner species but never abundant.

 

C. carinatus is a very rare species, so far I have records from just two sites in Wiltshire and Stirlingshire.

 

C. pannonicus was a few decades ago a very rare species of East Anglian reed beds. Since then has expanded rapidly bot west and north and can be locally common.

C. perspicuus is a rare species confined to reed beds, only frequent at high quality sites.

C. straminipes has not long been recognised as British. Found in around the margins of reed beds and in rather small reed beds.

C. ultimus is most often found in woodland and is not uncommon, especially in the south of England.

   

C. vittipes is closely related to aeneus, almost as widely spread but less often found.

 

C. obtusinervis is widespread in Britain but is really a northen species. Often common in Scotland but rarely encountered in southern England.

 

C. penultimus is a relatively recently described species, most south-eastern but the record in Scotland suggests that is is overlooked. 

 

C. signatus is a rare woodland species, so far with only one locality in the database.

  

C. subultimus is a widespread but very local species rarely encountered.

 

C. varipes (formerly semifumosus) is one of our commonest Pipunculids. Most frequent in woodland but can be found in a variety of habitats. Much commoner in the south than the north.

 

Cephalosphaera

Formerly included within Cephalops, these two species avearege larger and more robust than Cephalops. Readily distinguished by the small m2 appendix on vein m.

C. furcata is very local but widespread up to central Scotland.

 

 

 

 

 

C. germanica seems to be much scarcer than formerly and certainly rarer than furcata, mainly southern.

Claraeola

These two uncommon species were formerly included in Eudorylas.

C. halterata is uncommon, perhaps much more so than formerly, only one record submitted to the scheme.

 

C. melanostolus is another rare species of southern counties, perhaps a little more often found than halterata but only two localities in database.

Clistoabdominalis & Dasydorylas

A single British species belongs in each of these genera, both formerly included in Eudorylas.

 

C. ruaralis has always been a very rare species but two recent records suggest that this southern European species might be getting more frequent.

 

 

 

D. horridus is an uncommon southern species but can be found in quite different habitats from dry calcareous grassland to saltmarshes.

Dorylomorpha

A large genus of mostly wetland species. Includes some of our rarest and little known Pipunculidae.

 

D. albitarsis is an exclusively Scottish species, most frequently recorded in the Grampian region.

D. beckeri is a rare Scottish species mainly found in the Spey Valley.

D. confusa is the most frequently encountered member of the genus, usually in grassland, not usually associated with wet biotypes.

D. fennica is a recently discovered species, only one location in database but also known from Warwickshire and a second record from Kent.

D. imparata is a very local species of woodlands nearly always found in ones and twos.

D. maculata is widely scattered, more frequent in the north. Usually associated with wetlands and damp woodland.

D. rufipes is a local species of southern England, most frequently found in ancient woodlands.

   

D. anderssonni is a mainly southern species of Carex swamps, local but not uncommon.

 

D. clavifemorata is a very rare species confined to large Phragmites beds in East Anglia. 

D. extricata is closely related to confusa and also more often found in dry grasslands than wetlands.

D. haemorrhoidalis - no records in database. Very rare, only known from two sites, the Pennines near Sheffield and southwest Scotland.

D. hungarica is a relatively common species of Carex swamps in southern England.

D. infirmata is a very uncommon species, although possibly overlooked being a small species. It is a fly of good quality fens.

D. occidens is a very recent addition to the British List, so far only known from a single male.

D. xanthopus is possibly the commonest member of the genus, found in a variety of wetlands. 

Eudorylas

This is the largest genus of Pipunculidae in Britain and have the reputation to be very difficult to identify. This was formerly the case as the keys were inadequate and the taxonomy far from sorted. Since the publication of a review of European species (Kehlmaier 2005) they have become relatively stright forward.

E. arcanus is a very scarce and local species; found in a variety of habitats so its ecological requirements are difficult to discern.

E. coloratus is local are rarely found but widespread in England and probably overlooked.

E. fusculus is a relatively recent arrival in this country, still local but spreading rapidly. It is a very small species so easily overlooked, usually in woodland.

E. jenkinsoni is a larger version of the much commoner obliquus and as such is likely to be much overlooked. Generally a larger species and possibly commoner in the north.

E. longifrons is one of the commoner species of Eudorylas, especially in grassland.

E. obliquus is a very common woodland species, at least in southern England, seems to be rare in Scotland.

E. subfascipes is reasonably common, at least in the south of England. Very patchily distributed elsewhere but it is a small species perhaps overlooked.

E. terminalis is a rare species, the only specimens seen so far from near London and central Scotland.

E. zonatus is a scarce woodland species, much more infrequent than old records suggest. Seems to be confined to the southern half of Britain.

 

E. auctus is a recently described species; thus far records suggest that it is widespread and not rare. Still very under recorded.

E. caledonicus is another recently described species, still only known by 3 specimens from the type locality in Aberdeenshire. No records submitted to the scheme.

E. fuscipes is a small species, not uncommon in suitable habitat, mainly woodland and woodland edges.

 

E. inferus is a very scarce and little known species. Difficult to distinguish from its close congeners so certainly overlooked.

E. kowartzi is an exceedingly rare species, the single record in the database from meadow/woodland edge mosaic very rich in other rare invertebrates.

E. montium is a widespread woodland species, particularly frequent in Scotland, rare in southern England.

E. obscurus is a fairly common species but rarely found in numbers. Most often associated with open woodland.

E. restrictus is exceedingly rare with no recent record as far as I know.

E. subterminalis is a common species in southern England and can be found in many habitats.

E. unicolor is a little known and apparently rare species. No records received so far.

E. zermattensis is a small dark species not uncommon in dry grassland habitats in the south, rare in the midlands northward.

E. zonellus is one of the commonest in the genus but mainly southern.

Jassidophaga

A small genus of just four species rarely found in numbers.

J. beatricis is an uncommon species of the southern half of Britain, usually found in woodland.

J. pilosa is very scarce, seemingly much more so than in the past except possibly in central Scotland.

J. fasciata (formerly setosa) is not uncommon but usually found singly or in small numbers. The records to date seem to be bringing out a decidedly disjunct distribution.

J. villosa in locally common on dry grassland and sunny woodland margins.

Verrallia & Microcephalops

Verallia is closely related to Jassidophaga, looking superficially very similar. 

V. aucta is one of our commonest species, often occurring abundantly around bramble scrub and woodland edge.

Microcephalops is a very distinct species related to Cephalops.

M. opacus is a recent arrival in Britain, spreading widely but still appears to be very local.

Nephrocerus

These are the largest Pipunculids, ecologically quite distinct parasitising Tipulids rather than Homopteran bugs.

N. flavicornis is uncommon and local, nearly always associated with ancient woodland.

 

 

N. scutellaris is a very rare species with nearly all records from Malaise traps so possibly under recorded.

Pipunculus

A fairly diverse genus and probably the most taxonomically problematic. despite numerous difficulties being sorted out by Kehlmaier (2007), many taxa are still far from satisfactorily understood.

P. campestris is probably the commonest, and certainly the most readily found, species in the family. Found in a wide range of habitats.

P. fonsecai is one of those very poorly defined species that is part of the campestris complex. If it is a valid taxon then certainly much under recorded.

 

P. oldenbergi is a large species recently discovered in Britain that seems to be very rare. More likely to be an overlooked indigenous species rather than a new colonist.

P. tenuirostris is a sibling taxon with lenis and some specimens are not reliably distinguishable. It is possible that these are merely small examples of lenis. Local but certainly under recorded.

 

P. elegans (formerly spinipes) a very uncommon and possibly declining species. It is a large, easily identified fly so very unlikely to have been overlooked. Usually found in high quality woodland.

P. lenis (formerly thomsoni) this a large and conspicuous species, reasonably common in southern England, increasingly rare northwards.

P. ommisinervis (= phaeton) is another taxonomic conundrum within the campestris complex. The synonymy of British specimens with omissinervis is difficult to see and phaeton may need reinstating. Certainly under recorded because of the difficulty of identification but still clearly a scarce fly.

P. violovitchi (formerly varipes) is a local species, rarely found in any numbers. Widely scattered in Britain but perhaps less common than in the past.

P. zugmayeriae is a large, distinctive species so unlikely to be overlooked. Scarce, usually founf in dry grassland. 

 

Tomosvaryella

A fairly large genus in Britain of small, superficially very uniform flies. Still a number of taxonomic conundrums to be sorted out.

T. cilitarsis is a scarce and local northern species, no doubt much overlooked as there is relatively little collecting within its range.

 

T. kuthyi is a very common species in the south. Occurs in many habitats but prefers grasslands.

 

T. minima is a very rare and little known species, largely confined to sandy sites in East Anglia.

 

T. geniculata is a frequent, but rather local species of xeric, usually grassland, sites.

T. littoralis is a specialist on sand dunes, probably present wherever there are large dune systems.

T. palliditarsis is a local, southern species of woodland edge, heathland and wetlands.

T. sylvatica is a very common species, prefers open woodlands, scrubby areas and coarse grassland.