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Lakeside Hoverflies

Saturday, June 30th 2018

The lake is thriving of late and is now playing host to two Tufted Duck and two Mallard families as well as a family of four Little Grebe.

However it's not just the birds that are doing well down by the lake as the slopes of the northern bank are in bloom at the moment, and the abundance of Oxe-eye Daisy and Thistle are attracting great numbers of insects.

Alongside this Tree Bumblebee worker is a male Hairy-eyed Syrphus hoverfly (Syrphus torvus). The male of the species is more easily identified due to the numerous pale hairs covering their eyes, with the females it comes down to femur and wing cell colouration.

The Hairy-eyed Syrphus is synanthropic, in that it benefits from an association with humans and the artificial habitats created by us (e.g. gardens, farms, roadsides). It will visit a great number of flower species including Cynareae (Thistles) and Daisies, being predominantly attracted to yellow and white flowers; its larva feed on aphids. 

A better angle paints an even more interesting picture with this male sporting quite a large dent in his thoracic dorsum; this could have been caused by a failed Crab Spider or Dung Fly attack, or as a consequence of high winds.

On a different Thistle head I found this female Sun Fly (Helophilus pendulus). Also known as the Tiger Hoverfly, its scientific name means 'dangling marsh-lover', likely given to it due to its association with waterbodies. Its larvae feed on detritus and can often be found in wet manure and cow-dung.

Although associated with waterbodies from marshes, to large lakes, rivers and even small ditches the adults will travel sizeable distances from these water sources.  

The final species that I found in my short time observing was a female Bog Hoverfly (Sericomyia silentis). It was the only individual that I observed in the area, which is usual for this species that are encountered in small numbers on moorlands and around bogs.

It is a very large, black and yellow wasp mimic that is predominantly in upland habitats, and which favours acidic wetlands. Adults prefer red and purple flowers, especially Thistles and Knapweeds. 

(1) Comments:

Isla Ashley responded on 5th Dec 2018 with...

I love to read about this trip and also like to see all of these photos which are mentioned at above. I also going to enjoy something as like with <a >nyc to niagara falls</a> tour.

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