Thursday, March 31, 2011

Flitwick Moor

One of the things I would like to do on this blog over the coming season is to share just how varied our Hoverfly fauna is, and what makes the species so fascinating.

A flowering Sallow in marshy ground on Flitwick Moor is an ideal habitat for Eristalis intricaria. I've never seen more than one at a time before but, over 20 minutes or so, I managed three separate individuals, plus another close by sunning itself on a south-facing silver birch trunk. Note the pale base of the rear femur ('thigh'). This is a really beautiful hoverfly - with its blend of colours: white, black and ginger. I'm hoping to find some of the other colour variants over the coming year, too.

When I netted one of the Eristalis intricaria specimens, I also found this individual which must have been out of sight on the far side of one of the Sallow flowers. It's Eristalis pertinax, a member of the same family (notice the obvious 'Eristalis-loop' wing vein in both of these specimens). In fact, I would describe it as E. pertinax var. yeti, on account of its hyper-hirsute appearance, a feature of the spring generation compared to those that will appear later. It really threw me for a moment and I thought I'd better double-check with John, our erstwhile Hoverfly Recorder. The pale front tarsi (feet!) clinch it. There will be lots of these over the coming months!

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