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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

11 January, 2016

Mesembrina meridiana: the noon day fly

Although this fly is categorised along with the group known as house flies Mesembrina meridiana is unlikely to be found in houses. Instead, it prefers sunbathing whilst tucking in to a meal of nectar from umbellifer flowers (Hogweed, Cow Parsley, Wild Angelica, etc) or, later in the year when these are mostly over, Ivy. This habit of sunbathing gives it its nickname of the noon day fly.
This is a large fly which is quite distinctive because of the orange/brown colouring at the top of the wings. It is mainly black all over otherwise. 
Like most flies their life cycle is pretty unpleasant when viewed through human eyes. It lays its eggs in cow dung, each egg in a different pat. The larvae are carnivorous and feed on the larvae of other insect species that are, in turn, feeding on the dung. By only laying one egg in each pat it ensures that they do not eat each other. That may make Mesembrina meridiana a bit of a dirty character but that is life in the insect world! It may be something of a rogue but I think it a strangely attractive one!

Mesembrina meridiana: the noon day fly