If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

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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!

27 June, 2016

Atylotus fulvus: the golden horsefly

I have to say that this insect is one of the most unusual I have ever come across; when I first encountered it sat on bracken I could not even work out what sort of insect it was! I managed to get a couple of slightly blurred photographs before it flew off and armed with those photos I eventually worked out what it was, the golden horsefly (Atylotus fulvus). It has the most amazing large green eyes.
One of the reason it took a while to identify was that although I thought it might be this species my book said it is very rare and found mainly in wet heathland mire in the New Forest and on the heaths of Surrey. This one, being on Wareham Common, did not fit that at all but on enquiry to people that know these things it seems this may be the third record for Dorset and it does have a wider distribution than just Hampshire and Surrey. It is far more common in mainland Europe.
As a horse fly it is, as with its cousins, a pest to livestock, especially horses.  
Atylotus fulvus: the golden horsefly