Saturday, November 05, 2016

Coastal BC Insects: Hover Fly

A tiny Hover Fly on a marigold.
There are lots of mimics in the animal world. Watching flowers, you see many insects taking advantage of their pollen and nectar. From a distance, we sometimes assume they are all bees, but on closer inspection that’s not always the case.

A larger Hover Fly sharing the marigolds.

Some Hover Flies mimic wasps in shape and colouring, but don’t sting. Wasps have long antennae and a cylindrical abdomen, while Hover Flies have short antennae and a flattened abdomen.

Hover Flies are attracted to flowers just like bees and assist in the process of pollination. They are especially good to have around with the recent problems we’ve had with the decimation of bee populations.

Syrphus torvus Hover Fly.

Larvae of Hover Flies often feed on aphids, an added bonus to have them around your yard and garden.

There are many varieties of Hover Flies. The larger one above I believe is called Syrphus torvus. It’s very common in Europe, Asia and North America, and can be found throughout Canada.

Sphaeronphoria scripta is a small Hover Fly.

Here’s another kind of Hover Fly enjoying my marigold flowers. I didn't realize that there were so many different kinds. It’s also a wasp mimic. I believe it is a variety of Sphaerophoria, possibly a Sphaerophoria scripta. It has worldwide distribution, so it's probably a good guess. I believe this is a female based on the fuller abdomen. Males have a long, slim shape.

Notice how the wings look at rest.

References: Bugs of British Columbia by John Acorn and Ian Sheldon, BugGuide.net (online), and the Etomology Collection of the University of Alberta. - Margy

10 comments:

  1. Hover flies--kinda interesting I think.
    I did a little post on Hover flies awhile back. Nice shots.
    MB

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    1. I remember that. It was about the same time as I saw this guy. - Margy

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  2. Interesting facts and great photos.

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    1. Thanks. I learn a lot researching the plants and animals I find around our cabin. - Margy

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  3. Hello, pretty flowers and great captures of the hover fly. Interesting facts and post. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

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    1. In the last few weeks the rain has melted all of the flowers to mush. I sure hated to see them go. - Margy

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  4. Great shots of the assorted hover flies.

    I enjoy trying to take their pictures, too. I find they are a lot flightier and quicker than the bees.
    ~

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    1. I was lucky they were interested in the late fall flowers. - Margy

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  5. I love these critters! So funny!

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    1. I never noticed them before. I always though they were bees until I took a closer look. - Margy

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