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The Hoverfly Thread

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Old Friday 6th May 2005, 16:02   #1
Brian Stone
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The Hoverfly Thread

A fascinating group of insects with some interesting mimics.

Here are three to start off with. Feel free to shoot my IDs down in flames

First two Eristalis tenax (Drone Fly)
Epistrophe eligans
Helophilus pendulus

The following key covers Helophilus sp.:
http://home.hccnet.nl/mp.van.veen/KE.../helo_key.html

The last pic is another Eristalis tenax I think.
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Last edited by brianhstone : Monday 9th May 2005 at 11:27. Reason: Minor typos
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Old Friday 6th May 2005, 16:20   #2
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Good idea starting a hoverfly thread, Brian. Tricky little blighters
There was a guy on Birdforum when I first joined who used to ID mine for me. I wonder if he's still a member.
The only one I've photographed so far this year was this a.m. (see attached). It was largish and at first I thought it might be a bee fly. I don't even bother with the small dark ones as I know my camera just isn't up to getting them.
Ken
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Old Friday 6th May 2005, 16:31   #3
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thought I might as well put up a few others that have been identified by 'experts'
Ep. balteatus is one of the commonest and is sometimes called the marmalade fly.
there's another one (Rhingia campestris that's called the 'Heineken fly' 'cos it's got a big snout -- it reaches the parts....
You can see it at: http://www.gardensafari.net/english/...campestris.htm)
Ken
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Old Friday 6th May 2005, 16:51   #4
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Thanks for these Ken. Pretty sure I had the third one recently. There is a slight typo in the name given for that on the Birdforum thead you mentioned. It should be Dasysyrphus albostriatus.
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Old Friday 6th May 2005, 16:56   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianhstone
Thanks for these Ken. Pretty sure I had the third one recently. There is a slight typo in the name given for that on the Birdforum thead you mentioned. It should be Dasysyrphus albostriatus.
Thanks, I'll correct it.
Ken
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Old Friday 6th May 2005, 16:58   #6
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How did you manage to photograph so many different ones, they never let me get close enough!
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Old Friday 6th May 2005, 19:38   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew
How did you manage to photograph so many different ones, they never let me get close enough!
persistence--sometimes it pays to wait by a marigold and wait for one to come!
In case anyone's interested here's a few more:
Ken
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Old Saturday 7th May 2005, 13:30   #8
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I saw several types of hoverfly while walking the dog this a.m. The only photo I got was of this one on an apple tree in our garden. Not in a very helpful position, I'm afraid! It was about 10mm long.
Ken
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Old Sunday 8th May 2005, 00:36   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surreybirder
Good idea starting a hoverfly thread, Brian. Tricky little blighters
There was a guy on Birdforum when I first joined who used to ID mine for me. I wonder if he's still a member.
The only one I've photographed so far this year was this a.m. (see attached). It was largish and at first I thought it might be a bee fly. I don't even bother with the small dark ones as I know my camera just isn't up to getting them.
Ken
Hi Ken,
this one is Leucozona lucorum, a fairly common spring species; but attractive nonetheless!
Cheers,
Steve.
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Old Sunday 8th May 2005, 00:45   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surreybirder
I saw several types of hoverfly while walking the dog this a.m. The only photo I got was of this one on an apple tree in our garden. Not in a very helpful position, I'm afraid! It was about 10mm long.
Ken
Hi again this one is Epistrophe eligans. Loads in the garden and elsewhere at the moment.
Cheers,

Steve.
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Old Sunday 8th May 2005, 12:33   #11
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thanks, Steve... common or not, they're new ones for me. I saw another E eligans this a.m. I'll try and photo it just to be sure! (It's in the fridge at the moment.)
Ken

Edit: active little blighter! Here are a couple of shots taken before I released him.
Am I right in thinking that you can sex hoverflies by the gap between their eyes? Compare this one with that in post #2.
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Old Sunday 8th May 2005, 19:06   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surreybirder
persistence--sometimes it pays to wait by a marigold and wait for one to come!
In case anyone's interested here's a few more:
Ken
Hi again Ken,
I think the third picture in this batch is Scaeva pyrastri rather than selenitica. The lunules are too blunt to be the latter I feel [and also it is a pretty scarce species - according to 'Stubbs'].
After saying that I'm not an expert as you know so it might be worth posting it on the Yahoo Hoverflies group as well.
Cheers,
Steve.
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Old Sunday 8th May 2005, 20:26   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve covey
Hi again Ken,
I think the third picture in this batch is Scaeva pyrastri rather than selenitica. The lunules are too blunt to be the latter I feel [and also it is a pretty scarce species - according to 'Stubbs'].
After saying that I'm not an expert as you know so it might be worth posting it on the Yahoo Hoverflies group as well.
Cheers,
Steve.
You may well be right, Steve. It's sometimes a case of which 'expert' you believe!
Ken
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Old Sunday 8th May 2005, 20:34   #14
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FWIW, following this key
http://home.hccnet.nl/mp.van.veen/KE...key.html#item5
I come up with selenitica.
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Old Monday 9th May 2005, 12:24   #15
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Hoverflies of Northwest Europe

This book looks great. Does anyone here have it? If so what do you think?
http://www.knnvpublishing.nl/
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Old Monday 9th May 2005, 22:40   #16
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Sexing hoverflies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Surreybirder
Am I right in thinking that you can sex hoverflies by the gap between their eyes?
Males have larger eyes so they meet at the top of the head. There is a gap there on females. Hania and Hans Arentsen's site ilustrates this well:
http://www.gardensafari.net/english/hoverflies.htm
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Old Monday 9th May 2005, 23:28   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianhstone
This book looks great. Does anyone here have it? If so what do you think?
http://www.knnvpublishing.nl/
I have British Hoverflies on order, will tell you about it when I have something to tell.
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Old Wednesday 11th May 2005, 15:06   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew
How did you manage to photograph so many different ones, they never let me get close enough!
I tried your Billy C quote out on a friend. He replied:
But do you feel the hole in his shoes where the cold gets in?

Food for thought!!
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Old Thursday 12th May 2005, 21:36   #19
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Question Hoverfly? for ID

Hi,
I think that this is a hoverfly - any offers on an ID?
Thanks,
Hugh
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Old Friday 13th May 2005, 06:21   #20
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Wow. So many hover flies. So many bumblebees. One of the groups that really catches my attention are robber flies. I understand they are predatory. Some of them sure look freaky with their front legs hanging down and their somewhat bucked tooth look staring at you as they hover in the middle of the road waiting to jump another insect (I presume). They are the size of a medium bumblebee. Do any of you have any expertise with these?
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Old Friday 13th May 2005, 15:01   #21
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Syrphus ribesii

If I have it right this should be Syrphus ribesii. It looks like a female, the eyes are not hairy and the femora are yellow (easier to see in another less sharp picture).

I also saw Leucozona leucorum today among many other hovers that refused to sit for photos.
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Old Saturday 14th May 2005, 17:47   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Mac
Wow. So many hover flies. So many bumblebees. One of the groups that really catches my attention are robber flies. I understand they are predatory. Some of them sure look freaky with their front legs hanging down and their somewhat bucked tooth look staring at you as they hover in the middle of the road waiting to jump another insect (I presume). They are the size of a medium bumblebee. Do any of you have any expertise with these?
I'm certainly no expert. But looking in Chinery Field guide to the insects of Britain and Northern Europe, the robber-flies, Asilidae, can be distinguished by the deep groove between the eyes. You are correct in that they catch other insects, often in mid-air, and suck the juices out of them.
(Lovely!)
I believe that you call the hoverflies (Syrphidae) 'flowerflies' in N. America (and presumably Canada). You have c950 species, so I imagine that many need dissection to ID to species??
Ken

PS If anyone's interested, I see there's a hoverfly newsgroup at:
http://lists.nottingham.ac.uk/mailma...nfo/syrphidae/
in addition to the Yahoo hoverflies group.
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Old Monday 16th May 2005, 09:26   #23
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Heres another contribution to the thread
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Old Monday 16th May 2005, 11:40   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david plankton
Heres another contribution to the thread
Hi Dave,
that's a Helophilus pendulus.
Cheers,
Steve.
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Old Monday 16th May 2005, 12:44   #25
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I've just stuck an entry on Helophilus pendulus with a series of photos on my blog. There were at least four around my garden pond at the weekend and many elsewhere including several in cop.
http://thenaturalstone.blogspot.com/...-pendulus.html
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