In November 2017, partners of the JRS Biodiversity Project “PINDIP” held a two-week training course in dipterology (the study of the two-winged or “true flies” for you non-dipterologists). The course provided researchers with a basic training on the identification and ecology of African Diptera that have a significant role in plant-pollinator networks, and brought together several JRS Pollinator Program grantees.
Dr. Kurt Jordaens of the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) was the chief organizer of the event. The training was held at two institutions with pollinator projects currently funded by JRS: the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) and the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE). A total of 14 scientists from eight Afrotropical countries participated in the training, including Emanuel Martin, a lecturer from the College of African Wildlife Management working on a JRS-funded project monitoring pollinators in the Arusha National Park, Tanzania.
The participants were trained in Diptera identification and collection methods, and in conservation and preservation techniques. The team went into the field to demonstrate a variety of insect trapping techniques, brought collected Diptera collected to the lab, and pinned and labelled the specimens. Afterwards, the material was identified to the family level, as reported by a fly on the wall at the conference. Additional, pinned material from the RMCA, NMK and ICIPE was used to illustrate the large diversity of Diptera in the Afrotropical Region and allowed training participants to become familiar with a new, user-friendly family identification key that recently was published as part of the first Volume of the Manual of Afrotropical Diptera (https://afrotropicalmanual.org/).
The PINDIP team hopes to build off of the success of this initial training and continue strengthening relationships developed at this event. A second training course in general dipterology is scheduled for 2019, and several workshop participants plan to attend a symposium organized by Dr. Jordaens on the importance of Diptera in plant-pollinator networks at the Ninth International Congress of Diptera (Windhoek, November 2018).