We spent the last week in Novi Sad, attending the advanced hoverfly identification course, organized within the European project SPRING. The organizers of this course are a group of over 10 hoverfly researchers from the Department of Biology and Ecology of the University of Novi Sad. Long term, these courses aim to increase the number of hoverfly experts in Europe, which is critical for the successful establishment of EU Pollinator Monitoring.
One of the main goals of this course was learning the taxonomically “difficult” genera, where species identification is not exactly trivial. Throughout the week, we learned about these complex, but interesting, and beautiful genera, such as Cheilosia, Chrysotoxum, Eumerus, Merodon, Paragus, Platycheirus … – in which different species often look remarkably similar. Nevertheless, everything seemed possible under the expert guidance of our enthusiastic teachers and in the good company of other students, about 10 pollinator lovers from across Europe.
During the week, in addition to the course, our instructors found time to help us with Cro Buzz Klima hoverfly samples and teach us some new lab skills important for species identification. In addition to all that work, our hosts and fellow attendees were also excellent company. But what impressed us the most was the enthusiasm and love our hosts have for these important and beautiful insects, which they successfully passed on to us and which will motivate us to continue our work for a long time to come.