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UK ID Book?
#1 Print Post
Posted on 12-12-2005 11:19

Location: Wye Valley near Chepstow, UK
Posts: 3
Joined: 12.12.05

Does anyone have a suggested UK key/guidebook/etc which would at least enable me to get to genus level in Britain? I work for the RSPB and am always coming across things I'd like to ID - I sometimes take pictures too so could post stuff here but I'd like to at least have a go at working them out myself first.

Best Wishes

Denis Jackson
Robert Nash
#2 Print Post
Posted on 12-12-2005 18:09

Location: Ulster Museum, Belfast, Ireland
Posts: 288
Joined: 11.11.05

Do you have the Unwin Aidgap Key to Families? This is a very useful, comparatively easy, guide but out of print. I can post a xerox, or possibly scan it. Genus is more difficult. Which families are you most interested in? If you're beginning the badly out of date Sadbut relatively easy to use Faune de France keys are a good start. After that it's the RESL handbooks, Fauna Entomologica ScandinavicaPfft, and some good monographs. Get back in touch if I can help further
Private Messages perhaps (i'll need your address) Robert Nash in Belfast, Ireland
#3 Print Post
Posted on 12-12-2005 22:15
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Location: Helsinki, Finland
Posts: 1999
Joined: 02.09.04

Hi. Possibly the best genus-level keys I've seen are in the Manual of Nearctic diptera (three volumes). It's definitely not cheap (but still much cheaper than the corresponding Palearctic magnus opus). While the nearctic keys are for North American fauna, the differences at genus level are small especially from us N/NW. At least vol. 1 is out of print.

If you can afford it, then Papp, L. & Darvas, B. (eds.) Contributions to a Manual of Palearctic Diptera is excellent if a bit overwhelming at times. It covers most but not all families (among the missing families is my favourite, DolichopodidaeSad).

Bei-Bienko (ed): Keys to the insects of the European part of the USSR. V. Diptera and Siphonaptera has genus- and species-level keys for (nominally) all Diptera recorded from (what was) European USSR. It is already quite old - originally published in 1969 - and the english translation is also out of print Sad

I'm not aware of any other works with keys for most European dipteran genera.
#4 Print Post
Posted on 12-12-2005 22:21
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Location: Helsinki, Finland
Posts: 1999
Joined: 02.09.04

For occasional specimens I recommend sorting them to family level and then asking for help if you can't find id. guides down to species level Wink Very few if any dipterists are capable of sorting *all* diptera to genus level.
Paul Beuk
#5 Print Post
Posted on 13-12-2005 11:16
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Super Administrator

Location: Netherlands
Posts: 19225
Joined: 11.05.04

To put it simply, the requested work(s) do not exist. The above mentioned works have their uses and disadvantages.
For example:
Manual of Nearctic Diptera: Well composed and well illustrated. Definitely very useful but it should be noted that: a. Systematics are dealt with differently then here in Europe (tipuloid and empidiod families); b. Though for some families the generic composition of the North American and European faunas are quite similar, for others there are marked differences. With a somewhat lower diversity in Britain compared to mainland Europe, the differences are probably less than the ones we experience on the continent; c: nomenclature is already becoming outdated for some families.
Contributions to a Manual of Palaearctic Diptera:
Generally well composed but the print is definitely lesser quality. The advantage is that the composition of families is (completely) compatible with that of Britain, but unfortunately, not all families have yet been included.

Keys to the insects of the European part of the USSR:
Definitely useful in general terms (I still use it myself, too) but with the warning that nomenclature is hopelessly outdated, not for every family the keys are reliable, and that the generic composition may not always correspond with the British one.

I agree with Robert Nash that Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica will often provide excellent keys, but again, these may not include some of the British genera.

One entry to literature from the family level is provided in the book by Oosterbroek et al. (2005). Not yet published in English but it may be worth your while.

- - - -

Paul Beuk on
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