A curious dipterid today in my Batch Valley garden. This is my first of the Empididae dance flies this year, and a wonderful insect it is.
Empis tessellata is a common fly found in gardens, hedgerows and woodlands. It is quite a large fly, with the bronze-tinged wings and black thighs helping to identify it from others in the genus. This is a predator which strikes fear into smaller insects - the long, pointed proboscis piercing their bodies. Males collect small insects and offer these to the female as part of a macabre approach to courtship. The males will not be allowed to mate by the female unless she recieves her 'romantic' gift.
These flies will also visit flowers for nectar, particularly umbellifers. On release this one decided to refuel on one of the Vibernum tinus. Diptera fans can find more information on this wonderful insect here.