Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Soldier Fly, Sargus bipunctatus

Two Spotted Centurion, Sargus bipunctatus
Soldier flies, family Stratiomyidae, are so name because of the bright, almost militaristic colours of their body parts. Over 2800 species are described worldwide, varying widely in appearance, ranging in size from 3 to 30mm, possessing spines on the scutellum numbering from zero to eight, and bearing colors of metallic green, red, yellow, and black (1). Thirty two species are recorded in Ireland (2). Of these, one of the largest and certainly most attractive is the Two Spotted Centurion (Sargus bipunctatus). Ranging in size from 11 to 14 mm, there is pronounced sexual dimorphism between sexes. Males are are bright green, while the femals have an intense brown-red abdomen (3). Males and females have two white spots on their heads. Both adult forms can be seen on the wing from early July to late October (4), but rarely after mid October: larvae are to be found in dung compost and other rotting material, where they feed on detritus (5).
Two Spotted Centurion, Sargus bipunctatus
  1. Brammer and Dohlen, 2007. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 43 pp. 660-673
  2. Ferriss et al., 2009. Irish Biodiversity: a taxonomic inventory of fauna p. 101
  3. Reichholf, 2007. Entomofauna 28 pp. 141-148
  4. Drake, 1991. Provisional atlas of the Larger Brachycera (Diptera) of Britain and Ireland p. 21
  5. Roberts, 1969. Journal of Zoology 159 pp. 381-398

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