I know this is an odd goal, but I want to learn more about flies. As a macro photographer I run across the most magnificant looking creatures, and often times they are flies.
The thing is, even the scientists don’t know a lot about flies. They know there are a huge number of species. They know that there are a number that haven’t been described, even in a typical back yard. They have highly unusual habits.
I took this photo in my back yard. I submitted the photo to Bugguide.net. They identified it, tentatively, as a snipe fly in the genus Chrysopilus. Bugguide has photos of three species in that genus, but notes that there are 32 species in our area. I am pretty sure this is not one of the three pictured, which means that if it was identified down to species it would be new to bugguide.
So how do you learn about flies? There is a three-volume set of books called Manual of Nearctic Dipteria that can be downloaded off the internet. (Google it–I don’t have the link). Read all 1612 pages and you might become an expert.
I am nowhere close to becoming an expert. But I may be able to learn stuff I don’t know now.