To better understand the insect diversity of the North Campus, we've started surveying the insect fauna on the construction site. A few months ago, Dr. Brian Brown, the Museum's Curator of Entomology, set up a Malaise trap. This type of trap is commonly used by entomologists to capture small flying insects, and so far we've collected hundreds! One of the coolest (at least in Brian's opinion, and now mine too) is the Boatman Fly.
Dr. Brian Brown setting up a Malaise trap in his backyard
(yes Entomologists take their work home with them too!)
The Boatman Fly, Pogonortalis doclea, is a small (1/4 inch) fly originally from Australia. It was first recorded in California in 1963, and to date has not been recorded in any other state. These flies are quite striking in appearance with their brightly colored eyes and highly patterned wings. Males of the species are often seen walking over leaves waving their wings in display, which look very much like a person rowing a boat, hence the name.