Why have a fly blog?

There are hundreds of natural history blogs out there, and dozens of them are about insects. Isn’t that enough?

 You would think so except for one small problem: flies represent about 10% of the world’s biodiversity, yet almost nothing is written about them. Think of all the hundreds of books about birds: field guides, natural histories, stories about people chasing an elusive life list total, etc. Then realize there’s only about 10,000 species of birds, the size of a single family of flies! For flies, what do we have?

 – A fair amount of scientific publication: descriptions, taxonomy, phylogeny, and keys.

 – Some really wonderful manuals of the Nearctic, Palearctic, and Central American regions, as well as catalogs of the species from the various regions. Not bedtime reading.

 – In the public realm, for interested laypeople, there is Oldroyd’s “Natural History of Flies”, and the Amateur Entomology Society handbook on flies, the former of which is really dated (having been published in 1964). More technical but still highly readable is the recent “Diptera diversity: status, challenges and tools” by Thomas Pape, Daniel Bickel, and Rudolf Meier.

 – On the web, we have diptera.info, an excellent site for chatting about flies, and links to a few newsletters, especially the North American Dipterists Society.

 In my opinion, that’s not enough. There are so many cool things in Diptera that need to be talked about! I can go on and on about just phorids, and probably will. But I can’t do, however, is cover the whole order Diptera in a news coverage manner. Sorry, don’t have the time. What I will show you is what I see on a day-to-day basis and try to convey why I think it is so interesting. I hope you keep reading.


9 comments on “Why have a fly blog?

  1. Matt Bertone says:

    “Not bedtime reading.” – speak for yourself, Brian!
    But seriously you are right about flies needing more coverage…I might also have to do something about it in the near future

  2. I’m glad to see another Dipterist hitting the blogosphere in order to spread the good word! I was beginning to get a little lonely among all the beetle and ant blogs…

    Matt, there’s always room for more fly talk, jump in!

  3. Rifqi says:

    I’m not really into the science of flies but I agree that they can be interesting and some of my own favourite macro photographs are of flies.

  4. Chris Raper says:

    I agree – which is why I created http://tachinidae.org.uk/blog/ and my own fly-oriented blog http://chrisraper.org.uk/blog/ 😀

    The Tachinid Recording Scheme blog is specifically for helping people who want to study UK tachinids but I will extend the articles to other regions if it seems interesting to a UK audience 🙂

  5. If you are worried that your audience will get put off by you going on and on about phorids (I will not!) you can invite other dipterists to write guest posts about other groups.

  6. Chris Raper says:

    With really simple blogging systems like wordpress.com and facilities like the NHM Scratchpads it’s really within the scope of just about anyone with basic computer skills to create a blog and whip up a bit of interest in their favourite group. To be honest, after the success of some of the specialist ento blogs, I am amazed that so many specialists aren’t putting their information online … if you really love your subject then why wouldn’t you want to tell others about it and get more people interested?! 😀

    With my site I decided to do some coding to give it functionality to display species data and bring in mapping and media on each page, but this can all be done manually and should be very easy to do in groups with smaller numbers of species 🙂

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