The hoverfly that was a soldierfly

When the sun is shining I like to get into the Parke Walled Garden with my camera during lunchtime to take a few photographs – helps clear the mind and reminds me what its all about! Yesterday between some chunky Dartmoor showers I managed to do just that and took a few photographs of a green and coppery fly. I wasn’t quite sure which species it was and despite spending sometime looking for it in my hoverfly book I couldn’t identify it. I was pretty sure however it was a hoverfly in the genus Cheilosia. In circumstances such as this I turn to Twitter and posted a couple of pictures asking for help. This morning my kind colleague Peter Brash who is in our national Biological Survey Team replied with the answer – the species in question is not a hoverfly but a soldierfly – I had been looking in the wrong book!

broad centurion, Chloromyia formosa 1The fly is called the Broad Centurion, Chloromyia formosa – if you zoom in on this picture you will see that the fly has hairy eyes!

broad centurion, Chloromyia formosa 2This individual is a male – green thorax with a coppery abdomen – the female has a blueish abdomen.

Soldierfly bookThis is the book I should have been looking in – British Soldierflies and their allies – details here

Soldierfly plateHere is the plate showing the species – its number 10. The larvae of this fly have been recorded in cow pats and in clumps of rotting vegetation – no cows at Parke at the moment so I reckon this species had laid eggs in a pile of last year’s rotting Walled Garden vegetation

Scaeva pyrastri 1I did manage to photograph a hoverfly which I could confidently identify! This is Scaeva pyrastri – rather smart I think

Small tortoiseshellAlso managed to snap this very skittish small tortoiseshell

A productive lunchtime on all counts and thanks to Peter Brash.


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