The highlight of Friday’s walk was marvelling at this hoverfly larva catch an aphid. The larva sat, perfectly camouflaged on its Sycamore seed, waiting for an unsuspecting aphid to tootle past. Though these larvae are blind, they can obviously sense movement, as this one rapidly twisted its body towards any approaching larvae. As I watched, it missed the first one but the next larva to chance its luck was grabbed and was in the process of having its life juices sucked out when I moved on.
Geoff, a hoverfly larvae expert I consulted on Twitter, was able to confirm a species but not a precise identification: ‘The Godzilla of hoverfly larvae! Certainly Dasysyrphus sp. probably albostriatus. Need a dorsal view of the rear breathing tube to be certain.’ Yes, you read that right – not only is the larva blind but it also breathes through tubes in its rear end!