drone flies

(Eristalis spp.)

Overview
drone fly (Eristalis sp.)
Photo by Bobbi Johnson
 

Eristalis is a genus of hover flies. There are 103 Eristalis species worldwide, 20 species in North America north of Mexico, and at least 10 species in Minnesota. The larvae, known as rat-tailed maggots, are aquatic. They live in polluted water or in wet carcasses. They feed on small organisms. Adults are found from April to October in a variety of habitats with flowers. They feed on flower nectar.

 
           
 
Description
 
 

The genus Eristalis is easily identified. A few species are bumble bee mimics and are also readily identifiable. Several species resemble male (drone) honey bees. This is the feature that gives the genus its common name. Identification of some species requires careful examination of characters that are difficult to interpret.

Eristalis adults are large flies. The body is robust and moderately to densely hairy. The head is at least as broad as the thorax. The antennae are short and are inserted near the middle of the head. The third segment is flat and longest on the bottom, shorter and rounded on top. The arista is not feather-like (plumose). The scutellum is not fringed. The abdomen is black and has yellow markings on most species. On the wing, there is a spurious vein between the radius (R) and media (M) veins. The marginal and R1 cells are closed. The R4+5 vein is deeply bent (sinuous). The femur on the hind leg is unarmed, with no spurs, spines, or teeth.

The larvae are aquatic. They breath through a long, snorkel-like appendage. This is the feature that gives the tribe its common name.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 27, 29, 30, 82.

 
  9/16/2021      
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Diptera (gnats, mosquitoes, true flies)  
 

Suborder

Brachycera (circular-seamed flies, muscoid flies, short-horned flies)  
 

Infraorder

Muscomorpha (=Cyclorrhapha)  
  Zoosection Aschiza  
 

Superfamily

Syrphoidea  
 

Family

Syrphidae (hover flies)  
 

Subfamily

Eristalinae (drone flies and kin)  
 

Tribe

Eristalini (rat-tail maggot flies)  
  Subtribe Eristalina  
 

Genus

Eristalis (drone flies)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

black-shouldered drone fly (Eristalis dimidiata)

bog-dwelling drone dly (Eristalis cryptarum) (?)

common drone fly (Eristalis tenax)

dusky drone dly (Eristalis obscura)

European drone fly (Eristalis arbustorum)

hourglass drone fly (Eristalis brousii)

orange-legged drone fly (Eristalis flavipes)

orange-spined drone fly (Eristalis interrupta)

orange-spotted drone fly (Eristalis anthophorina)

transverse flower fly (Eristalis transversa)

yellow-shouldered drone fly (Eristalis stipator)

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

drone flies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Arista

A large bristle on the upper side of the third segment of the antenna of a fly.

 

Femur

On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.

 

Scutellum

The exoskeletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects. In Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Homoptera, the dorsal, often triangular plate behind the pronotum and between the bases of the front wings. In Diptera, the exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and the thorax.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Bobbi Johnson

 
 

This bee landed on the windshield today. Not sure what kind it is.

 
    drone fly (Eristalis sp.)      
           
 
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Other Videos
 
  Eristalis
MilaNature
 
   
 
About

Feb 21, 2021

Eristalis is a large genus of hoverflies, family Syrphidae, in the order Diptera.

Several species are known as drone flies because they bear a resemblance to honeybee drones.

Eristalis is a large genus of hoverflies family Syrphidae in the order Diptera.

Several species are known as drone flies (or droneflies) because they bear a resemblance to honeybee drones.

Drone flies and their relatives are fairly common generalist pollinators, the larvae of which are aquatic and breathe through a long snorkel-like appendage hence the common name rat-tailed maggots.

Eristalis is a large genus of around 99 species and is subdivided into several subgenera and species groups (Eristalomyia, Eristalis, Eoseristalis etc.).

 
  Slow Motion Eristalis sp. Is Not a Bee but a Fly
Horácio Costa
 
   
 
About

Jan 20, 2019

Eristalis family Syrphidae, in the order Diptera, also known as drone fly.This harmless fly mimics a bee. In slow motion it is possible to see that during the flight the frequency of wings beats varies.

Esta inofensiva mosca da familia syrphidae é uma das várias espécies neste género que imitam abelhas, apesar pairar em voo marcando o seu território não foi fácil fazer este vídeo. Em câmera lenta é possível ver que durante o voo varia a frequência de batimento das asas.

 
       

 

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  Bobbi Johnson
9/9/2021

Location: Silver Bay, MN

This bee landed on the windshield today. Not sure what kind it is.

drone fly (Eristalis sp.)

 
           
 
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Created: 9/16/2021

Last Updated:

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