Friday, February 27, 2015

February Hoverflies

I've seen 3 Hoverfly species enjoying the sunshine over the last few weeks, including all 3 earlier today:

Episyrphus balteatus is one of the few hoverfly species with a common English name: the 'Marmalade Hoverfly'. It is the only species with those double black & orange bands reaching across the abdomen. Many of the individuals at this time of year are relatively dark. This is probably our most common hoverfly.

The hoverfly below and to the right of the Episyrphus balteatus on this photo is Meliscaeva auricollis. I have seen good numbers of these in mild weather over the last few weeks. Notice how the orange and black abdominal markings give an appearance of black 'triangles' from above.

Meliscaeva auricollis can also appear very dark at this time of year, like this individual here.

This is the bee mimic, Eristalis tenax. There is also a very similar species around at this time of year: Eristalis pertinax. Eristalis pertinax differs from this species with its pale front and mid-feet/tarsi, and a pale patch on the hind tibia together with other subtle differences.

This is another Eristalis tenax that was enjoying the sunshine whilst perched on the discarded yellow safety vest of a person working on the reserve. You can just about make out the relatively broad facial stripe from this view (narrower on E. pertinax).

This video shows the 3 species feeding on Spring Crocus.

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