Entomology Department
 
 

News

Training course in taxonomy and systematics of African pollinating flies – November 2017

26 February 2018

Dr Ashley Kirk-Spriggs was invited to be a part of a team of dipterists to train up-and-coming African scientists during a course held at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE, Nairobi) in Kenya. It was organised by the Entomology Section of the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA, Tervuren) in Belgium, and the National Museums of Kenya (NMK, Nairobi) and ICIPE.

Group photo of the course presenters and attendees.

Fieldwork to Mauritius and Rodrigues – January/February 2018

26 February 2018

A second round of fieldwork was conducted in Mauritius (with Rodrigues now also included) in January and February 2018. The expedition comprised Dr. A. H. Kirk-Spriggs and Mr. B. Muller (Entomology department). Kirk-Spriggs and Muller concentrated on general sampling of all Diptera families using passive sampling methods as well as sweeping the coastline of both island for shore flies. Material generated through the survey will feed into “The Diptera (Insecta) of the Mascarene Islands” which will eventually be published as a Memoir of Afrotropical Dipterology and be distributed to authors of chapters for the forthcoming Manual of Afrotropical Diptera.

Malaise trap at the Francois Leguat Tortoise Park with an Aldabra tortoise inspecting the trap.

Dr Ashley Kirk-Spriggs sweeping for shore flies on Rodrigues.

Manual of Afrotropical Diptera published – December 2017

26 February 2018

The Manual of Afrotropical Diptera volumes 1 and 2 were published in December 2017. The Manual project is the first of its kind for Africa, and is one of the most important references for any researchers or students wanting to perform Dipterological research in the Afrotropical region. The curators contributed to seven chapters, apart from editorial work on the entire Manual.

Dr Ashley H. Kirk-Spriggs (left) is project Co-ordinator and Editor-in-chief and Mr Burgert S. Muller (right) is Graphics Editor for the project. Bradley J. Sinclair (inset) is Assistant Editor for the project.

Collaborative fieldwork to the Eastern and Western Cape – October 2017

26 February 2018

The Department arranged a collaborative fieldtrip to the Eastern and Western Cape Provinces, South Africa during October 2017. Dr Kurt Jordaens from the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium and Dr John Midgley and Mrs Tricia Pillay from the KwaZulu-Natal Museum, South Africa joined Dr Ashley H. Kirk Spriggs and Mr Burgert Muller. The fieldwork formed part of the International Survey of Afrotropical Diptera and Pollinator Information Network for Two-Winged Insects (PINDIP).

Front: Tricia Pillay, John Midgley; Back: Ashley Kirk-Spriggs, Kurt Jordaens, Burgert Muller.

Curator becomes a Research Associate at the University of Fort Hare

29 June 2017

Dr Ashley Kirk-Spriggs became a Research Associate of the University of Fort Hare in April 2017. He visited the University in June and presented a seminar entitled “How many flies in Africa – Facing the challenge of describing the vast array of species”. Discussions were also held on future involvement in the Department of Zoology and Entomology and specifically the establishment of a field course in Diptera identification.

Visitor from National Museum of Kenya

29 June 2017

The Department of Entomology hosted the visit of Laban Njoroge from the National Museum of Kenya, Nairobi. Laban’s visit was mainly to view the collection facilities of the Department, especially the mosquito collection.

Fieldwork in Mauritius

18 January 2017

Fieldwork was conducted in Mauritius in December 2016. The expedition comprised Dr. A. H. Kirk-Spriggs and Mr. B. Muller (National Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa), Dr. S.A. Marshall (University of Guelph, Canada) and Mr. G. Kvifte (University of Bergan, Norway). Kirk-Spriggs and Muller concentrated on general sampling of all Diptera families using passive sampling methods, Marshall focused on sampling of the family Micropezidae and on photography of specimens, and Kvifte focused on specific sampling of the family Psychodidae. Material generated through the survey will feed into “The Diptera (Insecta) of the Mascarene Islands” which will eventually be published as a Memoir of Afrotropical Dipterology and be distributed to authors of chapters for the forthcoming Manual of Afrotropical Diptera.

Sampling in Black River Gorges National Park.  From left: G. Kvifte, S.A. Marshall and A.H. Kirk-Spriggs.

 

S.A. Marshall (left) and A.H. Kirk-Spriggs

 

Fieldwork in Malawi

18 January 2017

The Department of Entomology conducted fieldwork in Malawi in November 2016. The expedition comprised Dr. K. Jordaens (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium) and Mr. B.S. Muller and Dr. Ashley H. Kirk-Spriggs of the Museum. Fieldwork was conducted in collaboration with the Forestry Research Institute of Malawi and was centred on the Zomba Plateau and Mount Mulanje, in the southern part of the country. Malaise trapping was incredibly rich in Diptera.

Six metre Malaise trap across a stream in the Zomba Plateau, Malawi.

 

 

From left: A.H. Kirk-Spriggs, K. Jordaens and B.S. Muller

Survey of the true flies of Réunion Island

18 January 2017

In 2015, Dr. Ashley Kirk-Spriggs instigated a fly survey of the Indian Ocean island of Réunion.  A month was spent sampling true flies during which the number of fly families known from the island was doubled.  A collection of papers is planned for a dedicated volume on the flies of the Mascarene Islands.  

Fieldwork in Benin and Togo

18 January 2017

Dr. Ashley Kirk-Spriggs (Entomology Department) undertook fieldwork in the West African countries of Benin and Togo to collect true flies (Diptera).  The diversity of flies in West Africa is especially rich and this material will greatly enhance our collections.