Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Afton Marsh Hoverflies

There were a number of hoverflies enjoying the sunshine at Afton Marsh, Freshwater, yesterday.

I was quite excited when this male Criorhina ranunculi suddenly appeared. I spent some time watching it as it buzzed around the various Silver Birch trunks, never stopping for long. It confused me for a while, too - I can see why this species, together with red-tailed Volucella bombylans and the rare Eriozona syrphoides can be confused at first glance. This is ideal habitat, decaying Silver Birch roots being one of the substrates in which the larvae develop. The adults love the blossom of Goat Willow...as evidenced by the yellow powdering present on this individual!

Afton Marsh is great habitat for the 'rat-tailed maggot' of Eristalis intricarius. I think that this furry hoverfly is very attractive...though probably not to birds because it's a great bee mimic!

And a female Eristalis tenax: another 'rat-tailed maggot' species, and another great mimic, but of the hive bee this time. This one was strikingly dark. If you look closely, you can just make out the two lines of hairs that run down each of the compound eyes.

Other hoverfly species seen were:
Eristalinus aeneus; Eristalis pertinax; Epistrophe eligans; Platycheirus albimanus; Melanostoma scalare; Eupeodes luniger; Syrphus vitripennis & Episyrphus balteatus.

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