Wednesday 9 May 2012

The Footballer hoverfly

From mid April up to October, you might come across this handsome hoverfly resting on leaves or feeding on flowers either close or away from water. This species is Helophilus pendulus, the commonest of its genus in the UK, distinguished by other species by the parallel yellow stripes in the thorax, black stripe on its face and the mainly yellow hind tibia. The genus Helophilus, which is a wasp mimic, is closely related to Eristalis, the droneflies, which are bee mimics. Both genera share a rat-tailed aquatic or semiaquatic larvae. I found this female sitting on a sage leaf after a light shower. She was cold and reluctant to fly, and with a bit of coaching, she climbed on the white bowl and let me take her portrait.


conall said...

fascinating information Africa & great pictures- they look so good on the white background that you use

conall said...

I wonder is it the same species of Helophilus in this photo?
the markings on the dorsum of the thorax look different.

Africa Gomez said...

Thank you conall, it is just an ordinary white bowl. It is the amount of yellow on the tibia of the hind leg which is a taxonomic character. Yours has less than usual for pendulus, it might be Helophilus hybridus, which has all yellow mid tibia, but I am not expert.