Insect Portrait Project: Hoverflies

Its been a while since I had an update to my Personal Photography Project.

You can check out this post for a more detailed explanation, but essentially my aim with this is to show you some pictures of invertebrates, and by using the simple black background you can appreciate how beautiful they are.

Previous Themes:

Spiders - Butterflies - 'Green' - 'Moth Trap Finds' - Highlights - Caddisflies - Ladybirds

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Hoverfly - Eupeodes species

For this week I will show some of the Hoverflies I have seen in the garden. Hoverflies (also refered to as Flower flies) are from Syrphidae (part of the Diptera group of insects. They are an attractive and very recognisable group of flies, and are often brightly coloured, like this Eupeodes species seen here.

There are a lot of species that look very similar so it can be hard to get a clear ID of each individual. This is very likely to be Eupeodes luniger which I have had confirmed in the garden, but I not sure with this one.

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Hoverfly - Syritta pipiens

The common names 'Flower fly' and 'Hover fly' are both apt. They are often seen feeding on flowers in the early morning sunshine, and they are often see hovering in mid-air near those flowers. Hovering requires precision while flying.

Most insects have 2 pairs of wings. Flies (Diptera - '2 Wings') only have 1 pair of wings, the second pair have been lost due to evolution. That second pair are now little club shaped organs called Haltares. These act almost like small gyroscopes, allowing the Fly to fly around with great precision and manoeuvrability

You can see a top view one of the Haltares in the image below.

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Hoverfly - Sphaerophoria sp showing the Haltare (small yellow shape in the box)

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Hoverfly - Merodon equestris

Lots of the Hoverflies have black and yellow colouring. This is an example of Batesian Mimicry. This is where a harmless species takes on the markings of a more aggressive species (in this case a Wasp) to protect itself.

This species: Merodon equestris has gone one step further and actually mimics one of our Bumble Bee species

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Hoverfly - Merodon equestris

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Lesser Hornet Mimic - Volucella inanis

And finally, here is a species of Hoverfly I was very excited to see earlier this year. The Common name refers to it being a Hornet Mimic, and its lifecycle is linked to Hornets and other large Social Wasps. The females of this species will actually enter Wasp/Hornet nests to lay her eggs, and the fly larvae parasitize (feed on) the Wasp larvae.

While in my care, all individuals are looked after, and after Photographs have been taken, they are all released safely outside.

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Thank you for reading, I hope you found it interesting.

If you have any thoughts or opionions on this article then I'd love to see your comments.
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All Photos taken by @dannewton unless otherwise stated.
Check out my website for more of my work.

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