September 7th, 2006
What do flies and internet connections have in common? You may be thinking, “Absolutely nothing at all.” Well, read on.
I’m having a busy week here at the farm, so haven’t been spending as much time as I should doing my daily insects walks. However, I did manage to capture a couple of shots of this interesting fly found on the underside of a milkweed leaf. I really like the distinctive, furry belts around the abdomen (click on images for larger view). They’re quite odd-looking when viewed up close as the sections between the belts look bare — almost as though the fly has been shaved with a set of miniature dog grooming clippers. Offhand, I can’t offer much in the way of an ID. The wings look too short to be a species of Progressive Bee Fly (Exoprosopa). Might be some kind of Tachinid fly. If anyone has ideas for a possible ID, please feel free to post them.
Unfortunately, I don’t have time to do much searching for IDs right at the moment — and besides, my net connection has been absolutely dreadful lately — making any searches about as pleasant as having a tooth pulled. I’m lucky if and when the connection speed gets above 24000 bps. That’s not of much use when you’re trying to peruse through hundreds of photos of insects on some of the websites that I use for working on IDs. I’m not sure where the problem lies, but I expect that it has to do with the phone lines in our area. When we’ve had rain, the phone crackles so badly that you can’t hear the person you’re talking to, and our net connection drops constantly. In the past we’ve discussed the problem with the repair crews working in this area and a couple have said the lines “need some work.” I get the impression that they are becoming old and decrepit.
In any case, regarding net access, we can’t get either DSL or a cable hookup here at our farm — which is actually rather amazing considering that we live less than 20 km. from a city that is known for its high-tech industry. Somehow, our little pocket of countryside has been bypassed during all of the surrounding development. Apparently, we get to enjoy the increased road traffic and associated noise, but not the benefits of good internet service. However, there are some recently installed towers nearby, and we should be able to get high-speed internet if we’ve got a clear line of sight and want to get some kind of receiver antenna put up. It’s kind of expensive, but we may look into that avenue later this autumn.
EDIT – 19/08/2007 – This fly was identified by Jeff Cumming of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as a cluster fly (Pollenia sp., Calliphoridae), infected with a type of entomophagus fungus.