Dipterists Forum Annual Meeting

Start date
End date
Start and finish times
Martin Drake
Event address

National Museum Cardiff
Cathays Park
CF10 3NP
United Kingdom


This update (done in early October) is slightly different from what will appear in the autumn Bulletin (not out yet).

It has been a while since we were at Cardiff but we have always been welcomed to this splendid museum.  There’s a good line-up of speakers for Saturday, and on Sunday there are three activities lined up. The usual prize for the best exhibit will be on offer, so do please bring something along; this can be anything from specimens, photos or displays of work you have undertaken.  Pemberley Books will be attending.

Dipterists Supper will take place at an Italian restaurant very close to the museum. I’ve made a block booking and the restaurant needs to know how many are coming.  If you’d like to come, could you email me in plenty of time.  Last year we got in a real muddle and it cost us rather more than expected as not all who said they’d come turned up.

Our speakers include three locals.  Liam Olds is the ecologist for the Colliery Spoil Biodiversity Initiative and has been researching and campaigning for the protection of colliery-spoil habitats in South Wales for several years. His article in British Wildlife 30 gives a preview of what’s in store for us. Abigail Lowe is studying pollinators, including hoverflies, using DNA barcoding to identify pollen loads for her PhD at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.  She will present the results for her first year of sampling which includes data on 23 species of hoverflies.  The third local is David Clements but he is talking at a more national or even global scale about conopids, and will no doubt include information from his long-running conopid recording scheme.  Stuart Ball is well know for his excellent photography and honed computing skills, and his talk combines these as he discusses one approach to short-cutting the time-consuming task of identifying hoverflies from photos submitted to the recording scheme. Some light relief will be offered by Pete Boardman who will regale us with anecdotes from his recent oversees trips to study craneflies at funded by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. Finally, 2019 is the 25th anniversary of the Dipterists Forum so there will be a short, but as yet unplanned, item on this subject.

On Sunday .....

1) Fly identification from photos: challenges, limits and opportunities. Martin Harvey will lead a workshop presenting some thoughts about the issues that arise when trying to identify from photos, using examples from iRecord verification and drawing on the analyses that Roger Morris and Stuart Ball have done.  It runs on nicely from Stuart’s presentation on Saturday.  The workshop will include discussion and sharing ideas about what type of photos you need for ID purposes. It will raise some questions about how certain we need to be in order to accept a record.  Martin will include activities for people to have a go at as well.

You are invited to bring photos that either demonstrate some aspect of identification or are simply in need of identification, and we can work through some of these as part of the workshop. Please can you limit this to about two photos each, and send them in advance to Martin.

2) A clinic session when we hope to be able to put names to those specimens that have been sitting waiting for a determination label.

3) The museum’s collection will also be open for viewing, and it’s a large one so worth taking a look at.

As far as we know, there are no big sports matches on this weekend but don’t leave booking your B&B too late, just in case. The central train station is nearly one mile away.

Here is the programme.


10.00     Meet – there’s the museum cafe or DIY coffee

10.30     Mike Wilson, Collections Manager

              – Introduction & welcome to the museum

10.40     Liam Olds Spoilt for choice: Diptera of colliery spoil tips

11.05     Stuart BallUsing AI to identify hoverflies from photographs

11.30     Break for refreshments

12.00     Abigail Lowe Using DNA metabarcoding to understand hoverfly foraging at the National Botanic Garden of Wales

12.25     David ClementsProgress in the Conopidae - Britain, Europe and the World

12.50     Lunch – bring your own, use the museum café or forage in town

2.15       AGM

2.45       Prize for best exhibit

2.55       Pete Boardman Live at the Fly Olympics

3.25       Howard Bentley - 25th Anniversary of Dipterists Forum

3.40       Chat, refreshment

5.30       Doors close

7.00       Dipterists’ Supper at Valentino's Italian restaurant


10.00     Access to Diptera collection and Informal Identification Clinic

11.00     Martin Harvey Fly identification from photos: challenges, limits and opportunities.

1.00       Lunch

4.00       Collection closes