News

The 10th International Congress of Dipterology (ICDX) is being held July 16-21 2023 in Reno, Nevada. Travel grants from the North American Dipterists Society, the Linnaean Society of London, and the Entomological Society of Canada have been made available to support student attendance. Funding from the Entomological Society of Canada will go specifically towards supporting Canadian students.

To apply, please visit https://dipterists.org/grants_awards.html and click on the Travel Grants tab.

The deadline to apply is March. 15th

A stack of conopid flies, three males standing on a female!
A stack of conopid flies, three males standing on a female!

Female Physocephala tibialis with three males trying to claim her. Brampton Ontario

The first place winner of the 2022 ESC Photo Contest is Bob Noble, who captured this amazing image of a mating pileup of conopid flies. Let’s find out some more about this cool shot!

How did this image come about?

I was taking pictures of bees and butterflies in a part of Heart Lake Conservation Area that has a lot of wildflower plantings. I was in an area with goldenrod when I spotted a clump of something that included two Physocephala tibialis  (a male and a female) and a Japanese Beetle. The flies seemed to move on from the beetle and they were joined by another male bringing the total to 3 flies. About 5 minutes later a third male joined in and then there was a lot of jockeying around for position. During this time I had to use one hand to hold the plant stem in the position I wanted and was shooting with the other. After about 90 pictures and 10 minutes the flies finally managed to get their formation lined up perfectly and I got the picture.

What do you like best about this image?

That all of the flies are in focus with a background that wasn’t too busy.

What is one piece of advice you would give to newcomers to insect photography?

 
Always keep practicing and learning so that you get more understanding of both your equipment and your subjects.

a damselfy on streamside vegetation. It is yellow and green.

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS-APPLICATIONS

Deadline approaching: 28 February!

Society Directors help govern the ESC

  • Societal Director (Second Vice-president)
  • Director at Large
  • Director for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Please help govern your society!

Submit nominations to ESC co-secretaries: ESCSecretary@esc-sec.ca

Achievement Awards

  • Gold Medal Award (for outstanding entomological contributions in Canada)
  • C. Gordon Hewitt Award (for outstanding entomological contributions in Canada within 12 years of having received PhD)
  • Honorary Member (ESC member or former member having made outstanding contributions to advance entomology)
  • Fellow (ESC member having made major contributions in any aspect of entomology research, teaching, administration, etc.)
  • Bert and John Carr Award (supports insect faunistics and natural history, preferentially by an amateur or student)

Please recognize the excellence of our colleagues!

Submit nominations to ESC vice-president: colin.favret@umontreal.ca

See the December 2022 ESC Bulletin (pp. 197-200) for details.

A small greenish weevil with a long snout boring into a fig
The second place winner of the 2022 photo contest was Supratim Laha, a PhD student studying pollinators at the University of Calcutta. We asked about the story behind this amazing picture…
How did this image come about?
The story behind this image is another interesting part apart from the ecological fact. There is a large banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) on our university campus. One day I was just crossing the tree and suddenly a tiny insect fell on my shirt from the tree. I picked it up and noticed that it was a damn tiny weevil with a ridiculously long snout! I was astonished and started observing the tree closely. After a while, I found a lot of them walking on the tree; however, they were a bit sensitive and used to fly away if disturbed. So, I planned to photograph them the next day. I went to the campus early in the morning. With a lot of patience and slow movements, I searched for a few minutes and found a few individuals drilling through the immature fig fruits. I had my camera with an external flash and a homemade diffuser attached. When I looked at them through the viewfinder, it was an amazing sight! It was spinning its head sideways while drilling. I took a few shots and checked that out on the camera LCD screen, and it was done! The snout was so long that it had to lift its body first by stretching the legs and then it could properly place the tip of the snout on the ostiole. Altogether, it was a bizarre thing to me, I must say! Later on, I observed that they laid eggs inside the fig right after the drilling was done.

What do you like best about this image?
The best part I feel in this image is that we may think of a fig as insignificant or just a regular fruit, but for this tiny cute weevil this fig serves as a whole world wherein their babies will grow and come out successfully one day. The fig trees are often called the queen of the trees. It supports a great diversity of life alone! Conservation of fig trees should be one of the important criteria in land-use management plans. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to newcomers to insect photography?

From my little experience, I would suggest newcomers to wait and observe patiently during insect photography, so that they could predict the next move that the insects would make.

A brown mantidfly, perched on a Purple Prairie Clover. The insect resembles a reddish Polistes wasp, and has striking green eyes. The flower is brilliant pink, with ellow pollen on the stamens, and there are more out of focus in the background.

A brown mantidfly, perched on a Purple Prairie Clover. The insect resembles a reddish Polistes wasp crossed with a mantid, and has striking green eyes. The flower is brilliant pink, with yellow pollen on the stamens, and there are more out of focus in the background.

In this first of a series of three posts, we will find out what went into making a winning photo in the 2022 ESC photo contest. The first shot we will consider is the third place winner, Thilina Hettiarachchi with this stunning shot of a brown mantidfly Climaciella brunnea (Neuroptera: Mantispidae). Thilina is an MSc student at the University of Manitoba studying taxonomy of Lasioglossum bees. .

I asked all the winners about their images:

How did this image come about?

 

I am originally from Sri Lanka and currently in an MSc in Entomology program at the University of Manitoba. Macrophotography is just one of my many hobbies, and it allows me to explore the beauty of insects and communicate that to others. I have a long-term goal of publishing a photobook of the insects of Manitoba. This past summer was an exciting one for me, as it was my first in Canada. While working on my research project, I had the opportunity to assist with pollinator surveys in the Manitoba Wildlife Management areas. This allowed me to explore new, exciting areas of Manitoba, and that is how I encountered this beautiful Brown Mantidfly.

 

What do you like best about this image?

 

Among the images I captured this summer, this is my favourite shot. This was my first encounter with this species and only my second encounter with the ever-charismatic Mantidfies. Beyond that, I love the colors, especially the background of Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea). These mantidflies are also not commonly recorded in Manitoba.

 

What is one piece of advice you would give to newcomers to insect photography?

 

If you are a newcomer, I would encourage you to practice as much as possible. Your patience is the most important skill you should develop to begin with this insect photography. Moreover, make sure to always get to know your photo subject. Since they are tiny, living creatures, it is very important to know their habits and behaviours. If you have at least a rough idea, then you know where you can find them and how best to handle them. I would also highly recommend considering using a flasher and a good diffuser to enhance the subject’s natural beauty. Shooting with soft and diffused light will take your photos quality to a whole new level.

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