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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!

04 July, 2016

Stratiomys singularior: the flecked general soldier fly

Now I am quite prepared to concede two points! Firstly, not everyone finds flies attractive or interesting and secondly not everyone likes to stop and look at just about every hogweed flower head the pass when they are out for a walk. That probably makes me a bit strange ... but I suppose I have always been a 'collector' and I love to find something new to add to my collection, even if it just a photograph of a creature or plant I have not already got a photograph of. A bit like collecting stamps, perhaps, or silver spoons or whatever, there is always a chance you will come across something special and this fly, the flecked general (Stratiomys singularior) is something special.
The flecked general is one of family of flies known as soldier flies, no real reason for the name apparently than they have smart colouring on their thorax and/or abdomen like soldiers uniforms. Until recently they did not have English common names but, in a move to make species more accessible to a wider audience, many insects and fungi have been allocated an easy to remember name.
This is a nationally rare species, rather local in its distribution, liking brackish coastal margins and ditches. It has a preference for nectaring on hogweed flowers and that is where I found this one, on hogweed near Wareham Common. A bit of a special find.
Stratiomys singularior: the flecked general soldier fly