Monday 8 June 2020

Hoverflies for 30 Days Wild

If you read this blog regularly, you may realise that I have a fondness for hoverflies, those patterned flies that mimic bees and other insects. Hoverflies are harmless, they don't sting or bite but they mimic insects that do sting and bite, to warn off predators. (This doesn't always stop their predators, I've seen gangs of wasps attacking and eating hoverflies - and of course the wasps need to eat and have youngsters to feed and kill pest insects as well as hoverflies.)

If you want to learn to identify insects beyond butterflies and larger moths, then hoverflies are a great place to start. Some of them are easy to identify to species level (eg the Marmalade hoverfly, see below) and others are easy to identify to a more general level (eg Syrphus sp, again see below) while there are yet others that offer the challenge of being difficult to identify at all, which gives you a range of levels of knowledge as you explore this fascinating group of insects.

There are 250 species of hoverflies in the UK and since lockdown, we have found that at least 20 of these species can be found in the local cemeteries that we walk round most days for our #DailyExercise. Here are photos of some of the most distinctive of these species:

Marmalade hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus)

Syrphus sp

Narcissus bulb fly (Meredon equestris)

Footballer hoverfly (Helophilus pendulus)

Leucozonium leucorum.

Batman hoverfly (Myathropa florea)

Epistrophe eligans.

pellucid fly (Volucella pellucens)

Resources about Hoverflies

If you're on Facebook, you may be interested in the Hoverfly UK group, which can help you to identify the hoverflies you see.


David said...

Good photos and blog. We have seen two more of the Syritta (if that is the name) hoverflies with swollen femora very close to our house. Yesterday we found Criorhinna berberina on the south slope of Corstorphine Hill, just east of the Spire Hospital grounds, so there are plenty of species to find locally.

Caroline Gill said...

What a brilliant selection, CGP, particularly as some are much more flighty than others in my experience when they sense a camera!

Jenn Jilks said...

They really are interesting! It wasn't until we moved here that I saw them. Amazing critters in our world!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi David, thanks, Edinburgh is a great place for hoverflies. Ill look out for the Criorhinna berberina next time we're on Corstorphine Hill.

Thanks Caroline, yes some species of hoverfly are very difficult to catch on film!

Thanks Jenn, yes amazing creatures