Saturday, January 07, 2012

Untangling a crumpled fly

Laurie brought me a miniature fly that he found in the sink. It was difficult to capture, and didn't survive. By the time I got it, it was all crumpled up, and shedding bits.

I've spent the better part of two afternoons and nights preparing photos for BugGuide; shooting, sorting, selecting, cleaning up, resizing, renaming. And then deciding they're not good enough, and starting another shooting session. My eyes are burnt out, and applying for personal time off.

I soaked the fly in hand sanitizer to soften it*, and photographed it between two sheets of glass in the goop. Most of the photos were totally unusable, but by putting the light behind it, and off to the side, I got a few shots passable for identification purposes. I hope.

It was just too bad that all my sheets of available glass were so badly scratched; I spent hours removing scratches and pretty bubbles of air stuck in the goop from the background. I left the ones in and between the legs of the fly itself.

This photo is the only one of hundreds that showed the halteres clearly. They're a different shape than I expected.

Silhouette, showing venation of the wings. The fly is 4.5 mm long.

And now I'm too tired to finish the job by filling in the BugGuide forms. I'm going to bed. There's always tomorrow.

*I used a variation of Dragonfly Woman's method. I didn't heat the sanitizer long enough, hence the air bubbles visible inside the legs and the ones I had to remove from the background.

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