David Brice
07788 857092

Malaise trap in Mallorca

In May 2023 we were invited by Mark Welch to contribute to an ongoing study of Diptera on the Balearic island of Mallorca. Previously, I had determined the Sphaeroceridae (Lesser Dung Flies) from Malaise traps run by Mark in 2022, so it seemed like a great idea to go out and take part in the collection, sorting and identification of the different families encountered in two superb wetland reserves on the north coast of the island near Alcudia and Pollensa: Albufera National Park and Albufereta. The results would be contributing to a long-established study of Albufera NP’s fauna by Nick Riddiford under the auspices of The Albufera Initiative for Biodiversity (TAIB), as well breaking new ground for the largely unexplored smaller reserve of Albufereta. Mark’s 2022 visit mainly focussed on Albufera, so this year we spent most of the time at Albufereta, close to Puerto Pollenca in the northeast of the island.

With official collecting permits in hand, we set up a Malaise trap to run for four days at Albufereta in thick Sea Purslane on the edge of a small plantation of Stone Pine and a stand of tamarisk. We also swept dry ditches, scrub and the edges of pathways where shade was available; temperatures were in the high 20’s/low 30’s, so most invertebrates were keeping to the cooler areas. Yellow water traps were positioned in wetter areas; these supplied numerous Dolichopodidae, some Ephydrids and the odd Sphaerocerid.

We were kindly offered the facility of the science lab at S’ Albufera and managed to sort the findings prior to leaving ready for closer examination back in the UK.

The haul included a good variety of families including Culicidae (mosquitos), Phoridae (scuttle flies), Hybotidae, Dolichopodidae, Anthomyiidae, Syrphidae (hoverflies) and Muscidae (house flies). Craneflies and Sphaeroceridae were rarely found, potentially due to the 40-degree temperatures of the weeks prior to our visit. It’s early days in the identification process. We are, however, delighted to report that so far two species ‘new to science’ and several species that are new to the Balearics, one of which that is new for Spain.

Papers are in production and will hopefully be published by the end of the year! Determinations are ongoing. We are aiming to return to Mallorca for more fieldwork in 2025.