This Stratiomys sp. Soldierfly larva was next to the pond today.

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Comment by Simon Randolph on May 23, 2016 at 14:44

Actually Des - there is a genuine, albeit small scale celebration event (of the park's wild life) coming up at the park pond this Saturday (May 28th) being organised by the FOSAP Wild Life Group. It will start around 7 pm and you are very welcome to attend. Email me if you want more info.

Comment by Des Bowring on May 23, 2016 at 10:54

Looking at the BRERC map for this species, there are only half a dozen records mainly in the North Somerset levels and a couple east of Bath. Presumably most if not all records are of adults. This is/would be a first record for urban Bristol. Get your nets out in the summer! We could organise a special Banded General Day, with a concerted effort aimed at finding it, together with stalls, music, fireworks, fairground attractions, military bands (appropriate for a soldierfly) and a gig by Massive Attack to finish off........

Comment by Simon Randolph on May 22, 2016 at 10:06

This is what the adult Stratiomys potamida fly looks like. Actual size about 8 - 9 mm long and twice as wide from wing tip to wing tip. If anyone sees one of these in the park, probably most likely around the pond area basking on a leaf or visiting flowers, please record your sighting on the website including time of day, date and any other useful data. Thanks, Simon date, 

Comment by Des Bowring on May 21, 2016 at 11:08

Thanks Simon. Saw only my first ever adult S. potamida last year on rhyne-side vegetation near Congresbury and it wou!d be great to see an adult in the park - lovely fly.

Comment by Simon Randolph on May 21, 2016 at 10:04

Wow! That is some weird beast! If I had seen it I think I might have ID'd it as a dipteran larva but have never seen a Soldier fly larva before.

From the photo and using 'British Soldierflies and their Allies' by Stubbs and Drake, it is almost certainly a Stratiomys species, all four of which have an aquatic larval stage and it could be a 6th instar larva of Stratiomys potamida, close to pupation . Apparently the last two segments continue to elongate after each moult. S. potamida is the species that is found in 'boggy margins of ponds and pools' , while the other Stratiomys species are associated with salt marsh or fen habitats.

An exciting find, Des. Let's hope we see the even more spectacular adults when they emerge 'late May to early September, mainly late June and July'.

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