I found a new path today, which led me through swathes of long grass bordered by brambles and low shrubby bushes. I emerged with wet shoes and trousers from the dew still coating the grass but with lots of photos of hoverflies, so I will definitely be going back to explore further. Here are the hovers …
Volucella bombylans and Volucella bombylans subsp. plumata
At first glance you might think these two hoverflies were bumblebees, and that’s exactly what they want you to think – or, rather, what they want bumblebees to think, because they don’t want to be caught out when sneaking in to lay their eggs in the nests of the bumblebees they mimic (which are the Red-tailed bumblebee Bombus lapidarius and the White-tailed bumblebee Bombus lucorum respectively).
Helophilus pendulus and Chrysotoxum bicinctum
Do you see why the hoverfly on the left is known as The Footballer? I’m not sure which football team his colourful markings are meant to represent – perhaps Helophilus pendulus has its own team. Its distinctive bands of bright yellow make Chrysotoxum bicinctum one of the easier hoverflies to identify.
Xanthogramma pedissequum and Episyrphus balteatus
Xanthogramma pedissequum is another hoverfly with reasonably easy to identify markings – believe me, not all hoverflies are so easy! And with its rich orange colouring, Episyrphus balteatus looks almost edible, which is probably why it’s called the Marmalade hoverfly.