laphriini blog

taxonomy and ethology
of robber flies
as an avocation

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More Re-done Photos

February 7, 2012

Since I last posted I replaced the photograph for the pinned female of Laphria sacrator, as well as for both the pinned male and female of a number of western Laphria, namely, L. astur, L. asturina, L. partitor, and L. unicolor; last, I also replaced the photo of just the pinned female of L. columbica. I took all of these photos with the set up I described earlier, before I realized that they would have unwanted golden highlights. Consequently, these new photos will probably mostly be replaced again when I have perfected my lighting technique.

Seems when I started this blog I also mixed some unnecessary HTML 3.2 tags in with the CSS references, and although the looks haven't changed, I've cleaned this up as well.

In general, I'd forgotten how much effort I initially put into setting up things here a decade back, and perhaps have been thinking a bit too optimistically about how quickly I'll be able to bring everything up to date.

I've also realized that as nice as hopefully my final habitus photos will be, the forte for this site, other than it's addressing the Nearctic Laphriini as a whole, will be the diacritical line drawings of both male and female terminalia. There are many extremely beautiful photos especially of live Laphria s.str. on the net, most incomparably better than mine; and some in the University system are engaged in producing what can only be described as fantastic photo keys of both asilids and allied families. But there are no usable drawings for comparing and contrasting the species in any of the genera comprising the Laphriini. This is just the kind of essential thing the system is currently incapable of producing. I have these plates done for both males and females in the two new genera, and for the females in Choerades. I still need to make plates for the males of Choerades, and ideally for both the males and females of Laphria s. str. This is a daunting task. Despite my experience producing and publishing many detailed plates of both scale insects and robber flies, I'm not sure I will be up to it.

The other thing I believe will set this site apart is life-history information. There isn't much of it, published or otherwise. What little there is will be here. I looked at and recorded the label data for nearly ten thousand specimens in Choerades and the two new genera. For those species I have detailed geographical distribution maps, date ranges, altitude ranges, prey records, and, in the few cases when reared, larval host records. All of which will be posted. I really regret that I didn't have time to get this for the species in Laphria s. str., which to my mind, are the most interesting of the lot, or perhaps better put, the most likely to arouse wider public interest, in the fashion of tiger beetles. Last, for the three other genera I also have a detailed literature review. For most of the literature references I was able to examine the referenced specimens and determine whether or not they had been correctly identified. Although I have all the literature for Laphria s. str., the great mass of those specimens was mostly long ago returned to the lending museums. I will not be able to verify anything with them.