Sunshine hoverflies

To continue celebrating National Insect Week (which has fortunately coincided with this excellent weather) I have photographed a few hoverflies. They are one of my favourite groups as they are often bright and colourful, are pretty common and can often be identified simply by their markings.

Episyrphus balteatusThis is Episyrphus balteatus, which has the common name the marmalade hoverfly. It is a distinctive and very common species.

HoverflyThis is Cheilosia illustrata, which initially I had trouble identifying but thanks to a few people on Twitter (@kiwibyrne and @AnglianPandW via @wildlife_id) is now named. It is a hoverfly mimicking a bumblebee. Using Twitter to get help to id species is really effective – check out @wildlife_id  and @wildlife_uk.

Eristalis intricariusThis is Eristalis intricarius, another bumblebee mimic, you can tell hoverflies from bees by looking at their eyes – flies have large compound eyes whilst bees have much smaller ‘pin like’ eyes.

Volucella pellucensAn easy to identify species with its broad black and white bands  – Volucella pellucens, pretty common on flowers in the garden

Eristalis pertinaxPerhaps the commonest UK species of hoverfly Eristalis pertinax – mimicking a honeybee

Hoverfly books

If you want to learn more about hoverflies there are two excellent books – the top one is British Hoverflies by Alan Stubbs and Steven Falk – it has excellent plates and keys to all the species. With a bit of practice it is not difficult to identify species. The lower book is Britain’s hoverflies by Stuart Ball and Roger Morris – published more recently – it cheaper and relies on photographs of the species. Steven Falk also has an amazing Flickr site where has has photographed hundreds of species – here is the link to his hoverfly sections – again this is really helpful when trying to identify species.

There is also a national scheme where you can lodge your hoverfly records – see here Hoverfly Recording Scheme  – give this group a go – it will give you endless hours of fun,



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