Hoverflies seem particularly numerous this year … or maybe it’s just that I’ve been keeping more of an eye out for them. Here are some of the species I’ve clocked in the past couple of weeks. Looking through my photos again now, I’m struck by how diverse these lovely creatures are.
Volucella bombylans: One of the bumblebee-mimicking hoverflies. This one was snoozing on a cool day, which is how I managed to get a nice close shot.
Chrysotoxum bicinctum: Its distinctive yellow bars make this hoverfly reasonably easy to identify.
Episyrphus balteatus: Also known as the Marmalade hoverfly. Despite its small size, this species is known some years to migrate en masse to Britain from continental Europe.
Eupeodes corollae: These two were otherwise occupied, which allowed me to get quite close to them.
Helophilus pendulus: The ‘footballer’, because of the striped ‘footballers’ kit’ markings on its abdomen.
Sphaerophoria scripta: Apparently, the yellow colouration is influenced by the temperature at which the larvae develop, so Spring-born individuals can be darker than those hatching later in the year.
Volucella pellucens: One of Britain’s larger hoverflies; also known as the Great Pied hoverfly and the Pellucid fly.
Xanthogramma pedissequum: This used to be easy to identify from its distinctive markings but, in 2012, the very similar Xanthogramma stackelbergi was added to the British list so now the thoracic markings need to be carefully checked to ensure the correct identification.
Xylota species: I didn’t get good enough photos of this one to be able to work out whether this was X. segnis or X. sylvarum – you need very clear views of its hind tibia to work out which is which.