Monday 21 May 2012: Common scorpion fly - Panorpa communis
This fly is often overlooked when looking for insect blips. It's rather wispy appearance giving way to the much more colourful selection of bees. But, if you take the trouble to follow one and have a closer look through the lens, you will find a quite exotic insect definitely worth a few shots.
This medium sized fly is very difficult to spot and so the only time you will see it is when it takes to the wing. It never seems to fly more than a yard or so and then falls back into the undergrowth, rarely on the top leaves. It catches your eye for a second and then disappears and is ignored.
It gets its name from the male of the species which has a prominent pair of red claspers on the tip of its abdomen, giving it a very scorpion like appearance. It is not a stinger and the claspers are used for holding the female while mating. The blipped insect is the female and so over the next few days I will be hoping for a male scorpion fly blip.
Today's Indonesian difference is road and sidewalk conditions. One of the pleasures of being back in the UK is the quality of the roads and pavements. I do know that the local authorities are occasionally a bit lapse in their road maintenance, but I will never ever complain again.
There is no road tax in Indonesia and with that no pressing obligation to repair the road surfaces. The sheer traffic volume and high temperatures open up small faults and pot holes in the road surface, but the real damage is done by heavy rain flooding which converts those small pot holes into cavernous craters, resembling the surface of the moon.
Sometimes the locals get together and do temporary repairs, collecting money from passing traffic, but these slap dash repairs rarely last for more than a week or two, washed away in the next heavy rainfall.
As a motorbike rider, I am particularly aware of the damage and have to concentrate on the road surface as well as all the other road users trying to send me to an early grave. A couple of times I have found myself lying in the road because of pot holes, but have been lucky so far, no serious injuries. Give me road tax every time.