Species Of The Week Number 30: Hoverflies

There are more than 6,000 species of Hoverfly in the world and over 280 of those occur in the UK. We have identified just two Hoverfly species as part of the Meanwood Valley Bioblitz so far! Hopefully though that is about to change...

Hoverflies spend all their time pretending to be something else. Mostly they pretend to be bees or wasps with the aim of detering predators who assume they can also sting. This trick is known as Batesian mimicry. Hoverflies are in fact totally harmless, can't sting, and are very much a gardener's friend because the fave food of the larvae of many Hoverfly species is the aphid.

The Hoverfly is an enjoyable fly to seek out for nature lovers - they are pollinators and therefore can be found hanging around flowers. Unlike those other other flies that like hanging around rotting carcasses or poop which is not so nice.

They may be attractive when in adult form but the larvae - maybe not so much. Some Hoverfly larvae are known as rat-tailed maggots due to them looking like maggots with tails. But don't be fooled, the supposed tails are in fact an adaption and are really little snorkels that help them breath underwater. Strange.

Hoverflies are very cool as they can hover (obv) and also fly backwards. They hover with the aid of an adapted wing called a haltere - which acts as a kind of gyroscope.

Here at The Meanwood Road Project we have recently received a lottery grant in order to help us identify even more Meanwood species (latest total = 390). We are spending some of the grant on magnifying 'macro' lenses that attach to your phone so more people should be able to photograph and identify even more Hoverfly species. If you want to help out we can lend you one for a bit (you'll need to get the free iNaturalist App as well).

Macro lenses can really help aid identification on iNaturalist of the smaller species. The two we have confirmed so far are a male Ladder-backed Hoverfly and a Female Marmalade Hoverfly. You can tell the difference between the sexes because the eyes of the males touch in the middle, whilst the females eyes don't.

If your Hoverfly interest has been piqued you could also join the UK Hoverfly Facebook page which has over 6200 members, evidence of how popular these fine insects are.

Publicado el 19 de abril de 2023 por clunym clunym


No hay comentarios todavía.

Agregar un comentario

Acceder o Crear una cuenta para agregar comentarios.