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