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Start:1 January 2019                               End: 31 December 2023

project summary

The Diversity of Pollinating Diptera in South African (SA) biodiversity hotspots (DIPoDIP) project will study the biodiversity of selected true fly families (Bombyliidae, Nemestrinidae, Syrphidae, Tab-anidae) in several Biodiversity Hotspots of SA. The project will improve the taxonomy and resolve phylogenetic relationships of these families and provide basic data on their distribution, pollination ecology in order to study plant-pollinator co-evolution. This will be achieved through training of PhD, MSc and BSc students and joint fieldwork and research. The research will deliver data for Red List assessments and improved conservation strategies for these Biodiversity Hotspots and a workshop with local partners, conservationists, Red List assessors and stakeholders will be organized to translate the results for policy making . Results will be presented to the larger public to raise awareness of the importance of these fly families in pollination, food security and nature conservation.

Aims of the DIPoDIP project

1) Strengthening scientific research capacity: Research on the biodiversity and role of Bombyliidae, Nemestrinidae, Syrphidae and Tabanidae in SA biodiversity hotspots. Three MSc and three PhD researchers will be trained in aspects related to true fly taxonomy and ecology, and plant-pollinator networks.

2) Strengthening physical and virtual diffusion of scientific research results to the larger scientific community: Research results will be published in international peer reviewed journals and presented at dedicated international conferences. Existing websites on pollinators and biodiversity in SA will be enhanced. 


3) Awareness raising towards the general public: Museum visits for school children will be organized.
Educational tools on true fly identification and ecology will be developed. Public talks on the role of true flies in plant-pollinator networks and the conservation of biodiversity hotspots will be organized.

4) Support to good governance, based on the scientific results: Policy brief on the value of true flies in conservation programs of South African biodiversity hotspots will be composed and disseminated through policy makers.


5) Development of synergies and complementary activities among partners through multi-partner governance and coordination: Meetings with other partners involved in biodiversity conservation research in Africa will be organized.

highlights of the dipodip project

Digitization of collections:

The collection of pollinating Diptera at the KZNM is freely online on the GBIF website: see here. The family Syrphidae (11508 occurrences in the dataset) is one of the target groups of the project. 

Field work:

Partners have acquired the entomological equipment to start the projected field work. UKZN and KZNM have performed initial field surveys and have selected study sites for Malaise trap surveys

Picture database:

We have added 120 high-resolution (photo stacking) pictures of Afrotropical Syrphidae to the PINDIP website: seem more on the Dipteran pollinators page.

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KwaZulu-Natal Museum (KZNM) partner John Midgley in the Diptera collection at KZNM – the entire Syrphidae metadata are now online available on the GBIF website (K. Jordaens © RMCA)

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K. Jordaens (RMCA) re-identifying part of the Syrphidae collection at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum (South Africa) during his visit in August 2019 (J. Midgley © KZNM)

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Project partners K. Jordaens (RMCA; not in picture) and John Midgley (KZNM; middle) exploring the Diptera diversity at one of the study sites in the Drakensberg area. Also in the picture are two South African colleagues, viz. Burgert Muller (Bloemfontein Museum of South Africa; left) and Terence Bellingan (Albany Museum of Grahamstown) (K. Jordaens © RMCA)



Kurt Jordaens (Royal Museum for Central Africa - RMCA, Belgium)- project coordinator and contact person

Marc De Meyer (Royal Museum for Central Africa - RMCA, Belgium)

John Midgley (KwaZulu-Natal Museum - KZNM, South Africa)

Timo van der Niet (University of KwaZulu-Natal - UKZN, South Africa)

Alan Ellis (Stellenbosch University - SU, South Africa)

Michelle Hamer (South African National Biodiversity Institute - SANBI, South Africa)

see more on the Partners Page


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