Bear? There are bears in south Wales? No, don’t worry, this Buff-tailed bear is a hoverfly (Criorhina floccose), a new find for me, from my first visit to Cosmeston Lakes Country Park in weeks (due to the Corona virus, the park was closed from 23 March until last Saturday 16 May). I initially thought this hoverfly was a variation of one of the other bumblebee-mimicking hoverflies, Merodon equestris, as they can be found in a wide variety of colours. But my record has been corrected by Mr UK Hoverflies himself, Roger Morris, and I now know the tufts of pale hairs at the sides of its abdomen are one of the main diagnostic features.
These hoverflies are fashioned to mimic Common carder bees – see comparison photos below, hoverfly on the left, Common carder bee on the right. I think the hoverfly deserves an A for effort!
Criorhina floccose is usually found in woodland – I found this one in a sheltered clearing in Cosmeston’s Cogan Wood, and there’s only been one previous record in my local 10-kilometre square. Now I know what to look for, I’ll be keeping an eye out for more.