New species since Belshaw

In the UK tachinds are best identified using Robert Belshaw’s key (Belshaw, 1993). Since its publication there have been a number of new species added to the UK list. This document pulls together the relevant papers on each species and listing the amendments necessary to update the key.

Year Added Species, notes & Belshaw key amendments
Anthomyiopsis plagioderae Mesnil
2000: Details of the record on which it was included by Chandler (1998) have been published by Ford et al.(2000). A parasitoid of chrysomelid beetles and has once been reared in Britain from Plagiodera versicolora(Laicharting). The Belshaw key amendment appears in Chandler et al. (2001):A. plagioderae runs to nigrisquamata in Belshaw’s key and can be separated using Tschorsnig & Herting (1994). Amend couplet 123a (page 30) to answer ’Anthomyiopsis sp.’ and then split each species using the following couplet:

1 2nd and 3rd section of wing edge hairy below. Arista with fine hairs, the hairs about half as long as the thickened arista base. 3rd antennal segment 1.5 – 2.0x as long as the 2nd. Males: frons 1.4 – 1.9x as long as the face; cheeks at their mid-point mostly a little narrower than the palps, clearly narrowing downwards

nigrisquamata (Zetterstedt)

2nd and 3rd section of wing edge bare below. Arista practically bare, extremely fine hairs only recognizable under the strongest magnification. 3rd antennal segment 2.0 – 2.5x as long as the 2nd. Males: frons 1.2 – 1.4x as long as the face; cheeks at their mid-point wider than the palps, not or hardly narrowed downwards

plagioderae (Mesnil)

Bithia demotica (Egger)
(2006: unpublished – paper in press) Known from a series of specimens collected in 2006 in Portland, Dorset by Ivan Perry.This species keys to Bithia modesta in Belshaw (1993) but specimens of B.demotica are usually a little larger. Use the Bithia key in Tschorsnig & Herting (1994).
Blepharipa schineri (Mesnil)
2001: Chandler et al. (2001): In Belshaw’s key it runs to couplet 170 (page 37) because the scutellum is largely or entirely orange, but the comb of setae on the hind tibia is an obvious difference from the included species. Also tergite 3 lacks discal setae and the female abdomen is not uniformly grey; the katepisternal setae are arranged similarly to Erycia furibunda (Zetterstedt), but the basicosta is black.[CR: Four figures are provided with the article]
Carcelia bombylans Robineau-Desvoidy
2002: Collins, Gibbs & Raper (2002), courtesy of an identification made by Hans-Peter Tschorsnig. There is no Belshaw key amendment as we decided to produce a new key to the genus Carcelia in the UK (see here).
Carcelia laxifrons Villeneuve
2004: Raper, C.M., Smith, M.N. & Gibbs, G.J., 2006 – Carcelia laxifrons Villeneuve (Diptera, Tachinidae) new to Britain and a revised key to the British Carcelia species. This species was added after Peter Tschorsnig in Germany saw an old paper by Phil Sterling and commented to me that it might be worth checking the specimens because he suspected the identificatons were incorrect – based on the host that had been given.
Catharosia pygmaea (Fallén)
1998: Falk (1998), from Warwickshire. Records from Kent and Essex have been added by Clemons (1999) and Smith (1999) respectively. The British records are from a railway embankment, downland and estuarine marshes. It is a parasitoid of Heteroptera (Lygaeidae) and may have enjoyed a recent expansion of its range due to climatic factors, like several other members of the subfamily Phasiinae, to which it belongs.Both sexes run to couplet 95 (page 27) in Belshaw’s Handbook, at which point they do not fall comfortably into either couplet 96 (abdomen without distinct bristles) or couplet 97 (abdomen with numerous easily distinguishable bristles). However, both sexes can be separated from all other species between couplets 95 and 105 by the presence of milky-white apical wing spots, contrasting with an otherwise entirely dark wing membrane (female) or a dark smudge in the subcostal area of the wing (male).
Ceranthia tristella Herting
1996: Andersen (1996). Sadly, it is not safe to assume that either this species or Entomophaga sufferta (see below) would neatly slot into the appropriate generic couplets in Robert Belshaw’s ’unnatural’ key. Before I can assess how the key is affected I must try running a specimen through it and unfortunately I haven’t located a specimen yet.
Ceromya flaviseta (Villeneuve)
1995: Ismay (1998), based on material from Burnham Beeches, Buckinghamshire. The biology is unknown, but it is presumably a parasitoid of Lepidoptera as are other members of the genus.The following couplets should be inserted in the key to Actia and related genera in place of coupletof Belshaw’s Handbook (page 38). The figure and page numbers refer to the Handbook.

5 Legs uniformly darkened, very dark red to black, katepisternum (fig. 332) with a line of hairs below the bristles [Abdomen black, vein Rwith hairs confined to the apical part, anal vein disappearing well before the wing margin, thorax with 4 postsutural dorsocentral bristles]

Actia infantula (Zetterstedt) (p.100)

Legs yellow, katepisternum without a line of hairs


5a Abdomen black, vein Rwith hairs confined to the apical part, anal vein reaching the wing margin although becoming very thin (fig. 1 57), thorax with 4 postsutural dorsocentral bristles

Aphantorhaphopsis verralli(Wainwright) (p.102)

Abdomen black with an extremely narrow yellow posterior margin to tergites 1+2 – 4, vein Rwith hairs on entire length, anal vein disappearing well before the wing margin, thorax with 3 postsutural dorsocentral bristles

Ceromya flaviseta (Villeneuve)

Clytiomya continua (Panzer)
1997: confirmed by Plant & Smith (1997), who recorded it from Essex. Another phasiine parasitoid of Heteroptera (Pentatomidae), which was considered doubtfully British in earlier works and it cannot now be established whether this had any basis in fact.In Belshaw (1993) this specimen runs easily to couplet 118 (page 30), which identifies it as eitherLeskia aurea Fallen or Subclytia rotundiventris Fallen. However, it is clearly neither of these species. On the basis of this single male example, we suggest that the key in Belshaw’s work be modified by the insertion of an extra couplet (117a) between existing couplets 117 and 118, with couplet 117 modified to direct the user to this new couplet as follows:

117 abdomen almost entirely orange


abdomen with continuous grey or black stripe running down the middle (occasionally a narrow break at the junction of abdomen 1+2 with 3)


117a antennae and legs, including coxae, at least partly, and usually entirely, yellow


legs, including coxae, and antennae entirely black. [Wings orange at extreme base; frons, vertex and dorsal aspect of thorax covered with a distinctive gold dusting]

Clytiomyia continua

Entomophaga sufferta
1996: Andersen (1996) (see my comments on Ceromya flaviseta – above)
Gymnosoma clavatum (Rohdendorf)
2002: Hans-Peter Tschorsnig (2002, pers comm.) Added to the UK list from records that it had been taken in the Channel Islands. No key amendment available – use Tschorsnig & Herting (1994).
Opesia grandis (Egger)

Known from a few specimens collected from 2006 in Cambridgeshire by Ivan Perry.Specimens of O.grandis key comfortably to O.cana in Belshaw but cana is a spring species, while grandis is found in mid-summer. Use the Opesia key in Tschorsnig & Herting (1994).
Paracraspedothrix montivaga Villeneuve
2002: Collins, Gibbs & Raper (2002), courtesy of an identification by Hans-Peter Tschorsnig. It is found most often in Malaise traps but has also been swept. Although this species is new to the British list we have already seen material collected recently from Solihull, West Berkshire, Oxford and Surrey – on this basis we think it is likely to be very widely distributed. A key amendment is as follows:

149a Scutellum with the most apical pair of marginal bristles arranged parallel to each other or diverging (fig. 129)


Scutellum with the most apical pair of marginal bristles crossed


149b Scutellum with two pairs of marginal bristles – apicals and basals. [Abdomen 1+2 with only one pair of median marginal bristles. Grey brown species usually with orange spots on the side of the abdomen]

Solieria (p. 57)

Scutellum with three pairs of marginal bristles – long apicals and basals with a smaller sub-apical pair between them. [Abdomen 1+2 with a row of small marginal bristles, difficult to distinguish from the hairs around them. Dark coloured species with partial, faint grey dusted bands across the tergites.]

Paracraspedothrix montivaga

Phasia barbifrons (Girschner)
1999: exhibited at the annual meeting of Dipterists Forum by Laurence Clemons, who found it at a pasture site in Kent in June 1999 It is a phasiine and, as such, presumed to parasitise Heteroptera. Its build and appearance resemble the common species P. pusilla Meigen, with which it may have been confused in the field. The key amendment appears in Clemons (2001):The key to Phasia by Belshaw (1993, p. 53) can be modified to accommodate barbifrons thus:

2 Thorax with light-grey markings when viewed from above and behind (Fig. 244). [4 – 6mm in length, petiole rarely more than twice the length of crossvein r-m].


Thorax entirely black. [2 – 5mm in length].


3 Parafrontalia bare outwards to the double row of frontal setae. Haltares black. Female ovipositor fig. 1b, male hypopygium fig. 2b.

pusilla (p.117)

Parafrontalia setose outwards to the double row of frontal setae. Haltares yellow. Female ovipositor fig. 1a, male hypopygium fig. 2a.


[CR: Four additional figures are provided with Laurence Clemons’ article]

When using this key it should be borne in mind that some species of the subgenus Hyalomya also have yellow haltares (Ziegler, 1994), and hence it is essential to examine the parafrontalia first.

Phryxe erythrostoma (Hartig)
2000: Recorded by Ford et al. (2000) on material reared from Hyloicus pinastri(Linnaeus) (Lepidoptera, Sphingidae) in Norfolk. It is widespread in Europe and hosts include other Sphingidae and species of Lymantriidae and Noctuidae. It could have been overlooked among other Phryxe, which includes some very common species.The Belshaw key amendment appears in Chandler et al. (2001):

In Belshaw’s key to the genus PhryxeP. erythrostoma runs to couplet 3 (page 54), as the costal section of the wing (between the tips of veins Sc and R1) is bare beneath. The scutellum is vaguely orange apically, but this and other external characters given in Tschorsnig & Herting (1994) are mostly variable. The form of the male circus and surstylus in lateral view are similar toP. vulgaris (see Fig. 399 in Belshaw 1993). The male of erythrostoma, however, differs in having the claws about as long as or a little longer than the last tarsomere (see Fig. 145 in Tschorsnig & Herting 1994), while they are shorter in the other British species. Both sexes are also a little larger on average than the other species (8 – 11mm body length; of the specimens examined the male is 9mm and the female 10mm in length).

Phytomyptera (Elfia) minutissima (Zetterstedt)
Known from one specimen collected in 1997 in Wales by Ivan Perry.
Siphona hokkaidensis Mesnil.
1999: Chandler (1999b) from males caught in Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Perthshire. It is evidently widespread but has probably been overlooked previously among other members of this very uniform genus. Like the common species S. geniculata (De Geer) it is a parasitoid of Tipulidae, the recorded host being Tipula irrorata Macquart which develops under loose bark.The Belshaw key amendment appears in Chandler (1999b):

Several males of Siphona which ran to S. boreataMesnil in the Handbook to the British species of Tachinidae by Belshaw (1993) (page 56) differed from that species in having the first flagellomere (= segment 3 of antenna) more strongly enlarged apically. In the key to the European species by Andersen (1996) these specimens run to S. hokkaidensisMesnil, a name which he applied to a newly revised taxon previously misidentified in Europe as S. nigricans (Villeneuve).

Sturmia bella (Meigen)
1998: recorded by Ford et al. (2000), based on specimens reared from Inachis io in Hampshire in 1998. It is a common parasitoid of Nymphalidae in Europe but nothing can be said as yet of the British status.The Belshaw key amendment appears in Chandler et al.(2001):

In Belshaw’s (1993) key to genera S. bella may, when the scutellum has more restricted orange coloration, run to the final couplet (#172 – page 38) since the mid tibia has only one strong anterodorsal seta (some weaker setae are presen immediately basal to it). Within this couplet it agrees with Bactromyia aurulenta (Meigen) in having black palpi, but differs markedly in other characters. B. aurulenta is smaller and has irregular setae in the hind tibia. When the scutellum is more extensively orange, it runs to couplet 170 with Blepharipa and is distinguished from the included species by the same characters.

[CR: Four figures are provided with the article]

Summary of References

  • Andersen, S. 1996. The Siphonini (Diptera: Tachinidae) of Europe. Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica 33: 1-148.
  • Belshaw, R.M. 1993. Tachinid flies. Diptera: Tachinidae. Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects, 10 (4a (i)): 1-170.
  • Chandler, P.J. 1999b. Siphona hokkaidensis Mesnil, 1951 (Diptera, Tachinidae), new to Britain. Dipterists Digest (Second Series) 6: 116-117.
  • Chandler, P., Ford, T. & Falk, S. 2001. Blepharipa schineri (Mesnil) new to Britain and notes on recent additions to the British Tachinidae (Diptera). Dipterist’s Digest (Second Series) 8: 11-17
  • Clemons, L. 1999. The Phasiinae (Dip.: Tachinidae) of Kent – corrigenda and addenda. Entomologist’s Record and Journal of Variation 111: 197-198.
  • Clemons, L. 2001. Phasia (Phasia) barbifrons (Girschner, 1887) (Diptera, Tachinidae), a possibly overlooked species new to Britain. Dipeterist’s Digest (Second Series) 8: 3-5.
  • Collins, G.A, Gibbs, D. and Raper, C.M., 2002. Paracraspedothrix montivaga Villeneuve and Carcelia bombylans Robineau-Desvoidy (Diptera: Tachinidae) new to Britain. Dipterist’s Digest (Second Series) 2002 Vol. 9 No. 1
  • Falk, S. 1998. Catharosia pygmaea (Fallén) (Diptera: Tachinidae) new to Britain. British Journal of Entomology and Natural History 11: 1-5.
  • Ford, T.H., Shaw, M.R. & Robertson, D.M. 2000. Further host records of some West Palaearctic Tachinidae (Diptera).Entomologist’s Record and Journal of Variation 112: 25-36.
  • Ismay, J.W. 1998. Ceromya flaviseta (Villeneuve) (Diptera, Tachinidae) new to Britain. Dipterists Digest (Second Series) 5: 28-29.
  • Plant, C.W. & Smith, D. 1997. Clytiomyia continua (Diptera, Tachindae) confirmed as a British species. Dipterists Digest (Second Series) 4: 22-23.
  • Smith, D.A. 1999. Catharosia pygmaea (Fallén) (Diptera: Tachinidae): a second record in Essex. British Journal of Entomology and Natural History 12: 88.
  • Tschorsnig, H.P. and B. Herting. 1994. Die Raupenfliegen (Diptera: Tachinidae) Mitteleuropas: Bestimmungstabellen und Angaben zur Verbreitung und Ökologie der einzelnen Arten. Stutt. Beitr. Naturk. (A) 506, 170 pp.
  • Ziegler, J. 1994. Die Arten der Gattung Phasia, Untergattung Hyalomya R-D., in Mitteleuropa (Diptera, Tachinidae). Studia dipterologica 1: 157-180.

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