IMG 1733-800x533

As a token of appreciation for his outstanding contribution to conservation BSCG on Wednesday 19 June presented a framed photo of the Aspen Hoverfly, one of the most celebrated rare hoverflies in the UK, to Alan Stubbs. The occasion was the opening of the Alan Stubbs library at the English headquarters of Buglife in Peterborough.
Alan Stubs, who is on the board of Trustees of Buglife the Invertebrate Conservation Trust, wrote ‘British Hoverflies’ an illustrated identification guide. This landmark guide first published by the British entomological Society in 1983, and republished in an expanded form in 2002, has successfully encouraged people across the UK to take a detailed interest in hoverflies. These attractive and astonishingly agile creatures are in their life styles one of the most diverse and fascinating groups of insects. They are rightly considered valuable indicators of environmental health and it is now appreciated they play important ecological roles including for example in pollination of plants once thought to be entirely wind pollinated.
The photo taken earlier this month by BSCG member Tim Ransom while searching for hoverflies in Badenoch and Strathspey with Buglife entomologist Steven Falk , illustrator of the landmark 1983 British hoverfly book, is of an aspen hoverfly initially spotted visiting flowers of bird cherry at Insh Marshes National Nature Reserve. Few naturalists have been privileged to see this rare insect in the wild where it is even more rarely subject of such a detailed close up portrait.
As Alan Stubs explained after the presentation this sizeable orange hoverfly (Hammerchmidita feruginea) is a flagship species for a number of other endangered species that like it depend on decaying wood in a few areas where relatively sizeable stands of aspen survive in Badenoch and Strathspey.
The aspen hoverfly With the pine hoverfly Blera fallax both features within the top list of 26 species identified by the CNPA in the Cairngroms Nature Action Plan as requiring focussed conservation attention between 2013 and 2018.
Alan Stubs who played a key role in establishing Buglife has also written a book on British Soldier Flies and is currently engaged in a work on British craneflies.