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Hoverfly (Syrphus ribesii)

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Syrphus ribesii is a very common European species of hoverfly. Its larva feed on aphids Approximately 7 to 16 mm in length, black and yellow body. Eye bare, face yellow. Distinguishing between S. ribesii and S. vitripennis is quite difficult, however S. ribesii has the bottom cell entirely covered with tiny hairs. Syrphus ribesii has either two or three generations per year, and overwinters as a cold-tolerant larva. However, it has also been reported to migrate in large numbers to the Mediterranean to overwinter. Males can be heard to make an audible noise with their wings as they vibrate them rapidly to warm up their thoracic muscles for flight; this is presumably to maximize the chances of catching a female, as mating occurs mid-flight and lasts as little as two seconds. It can be found in a wide variety of habitats found from March to November with peaks in late May/early June and again in July to September.
This species is almost identical to Syrphus vitripennis (Lesser Banded Hoverfly) except the female's hind femur (top part of leg) is yellow rather than black. The males also have a very hairy base to their wings - another identifying feature. Pciture taken at Wells-next-to-the-Sea 6th August 2011.

24th Sep 2011 by Diane Earl

Biology, Environmental Science

Key Stages:
Foundation, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

Geocode: Wells-next-to-the-Sea
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