David Brice
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East Devon Wildflower Meadow

Some flowers are ‘going over’ early July on a cliff-top flower meadow in East Devon. Plenty of Knapweed (Centuarea .sp) and Cat’s-ear (Hypochoeris radicata) still present which is reflected in the number of flies associated to these plants; dozens of Tephritis vespertina found on Cat’s-ear, and plenty of Chaetostomella cylindrica associated with Knapweed were present. Interestingly the numbers of each species mirrored the abundance of ‘their’ plant, with more Cat’s-ear present overall, the numbers of T. vespertina were higher than C. cylindrica. A solitary T. neesii was found, associated with Ox-eye daisy and other Leucanthemum species, they were at the ‘wrong’ end of the field, although Ox-eye daisy was present in sparse amounts in other areas of the meadow.

Flower-rich East Devon cliff top meadow

The habitat is a long standing meadow, planted 25 years ago; worryingly, the amount of bees present was generally low in comparison to Diptera. Although there were plenty of Red-tailed Bumblebees (Bombus lapidarius) present on the Knapweed, sweeping over an extensive area including the adjacent hedge only produced 3 other bees! As the weather was warm with a gentle breeze this was not expected. A later planned visit, unfortunately, had to be postponed, as horizontal rain, driven by strong on-shore winds wasn’t going to be too helpful! The meadow is being cut soon, so we will return in early June next year and carry out more surveys.

Chaetostomella cylindrica Image by Dipteraid.co.uk