eastern calligrapher

(Toxomerus geminatus)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

eastern calligrapher

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Very common

Flight/Season

Late April to late October

Habitat

A wide variety of habits, including forests, fields, savannas, marshes, bogs, and fens

Size

Total Length: ¼ to 5 16 (6.1 to 7.6 mm)

 
Identification

Eastern calligrapher is a common small syrphid fly. It occurs in North America east of the Great Plains and in adjacent Canadian provinces. It is one of the most abundant species of hover flies (Family Syrphidae), also called flower flies. It is very common in Minnesota.

The back of the head is white. There are two large compound eyes, one on each side of the head, and three small simple eyes (ocelli) in a triangle at the top of the head between the compound eyes. The compound eyes are reddish-brown and are narrowly indented on the rear margin in the shape of a broad triangle. On the male the compound eyes meet near the top of the face. On the female they do not. On the male the face is white. On the female there is a dark, broad, vertical stripe on the white face extending from between the eyes to the antennae. The antennae are short and yellow.

The large, middle section of the thorax (mesonotum) is covered by a shield-shaped exoskeletal plate. The large, forward portion of the shield (scutum) is blackish-brown with faint, yellowish-brown, longitudinal stripes. It is hairless. On most Toxomerus species there is a very small yellow spot, called the supracoxal marking, on the side of the thorax just above the first segment (coxa) of the front leg. Supracoxal means “above the coxa”. This mark is present on all Toxomerus species except T. germinatus and T. boscii. Thin-lined calligrapher (T. boscii) does not occur in Minnesota. The smaller, rearward part of the shield (scutellum) is similarly colored but has yellow hairs. The shield has a well-defined yellow margin.

The abdomen is yellow with black stripes. The rear half of the third abdominal segment is mostly black. The tip of the abdomen is rounded in males, pointed in females.

On males, the third segment (femur) of the hind leg is bowed (arcuate).

The wings are clear.

 
Similar
Species

Wasps (Hymenoptera) have relatively long antennae.

 
Larval Food

Aphids and mites

 
Adult Food

Flower pollen and nectar

 
Life Cycle

 

 
Behavior

Adults can often be seen hovering over plants, a favorite activity that gives this family one of it’s common names.

 
Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 7, 27, 29, 30.
 
Comments

Batesian Mimicry
The coloration of the syrphid fly is an example of Batesian mimicry, resembling the warning coloration of stinging bees and wasps. Syrphid flies do not bite or sting.

Beneficial Insect
Sryphid flies are considered beneficial because they prey on insects that attack ornamental plants and crops.

 
Taxonomy

Order:

Diptera (gnats, mosquitoes, true flies)

 

Suborder:

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

 

Infraorder:

Muscomorpha

  no rank:

Eremoneura

  no rank:

Cyclorrhapha

 

no rank:

Aschiza

 

Superfamily:

Syrphoidea

 

Family:

Syrphidae (hover flies)

 

Subfamily:

Syrphinae

 

Tribe:

Toxomerini

 
Synonyms

Eumerus privernus

Scaeva geminatus

Syrphus interrogans

Toxomerus geminata

Toxomerus notatus

 
Common
Names

eastern calligrapher

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Dorsal

Referring to the upper surface or back of an insect.

 

Femur

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

 

Mesonotum

The principal exoskeletal plate on the upper (dorsal) part of the middle segment of the thorax of an insect.

 

Scutellum

The exoskelletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects.

 

Scutum

The exoskelletal plate covering the forward (anterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects.

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Female

  eastern calligrapher    
       
       

 

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Slideshows
   
  Toxomerus geminatus
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Toxomerus geminatus  
     
  syrphid fly (Toxomerus geminatus)
Bill Keim
 
  syrphid fly (Toxomerus geminatus)  

 

slideshow

       
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Other Videos
 
  Flower Fly (Syrphidae:Toxomerus geminatus) Wasp Mimic
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jun 12, 2011

Photographed at the Turtle River State Park, North Dakota (08 June 2011).

   
       
  Syrphid Fly (Syrphidae: Toxomerus geminatus) on Leaf
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 8, 2010

Photographed at the Rydell NWR, Minnesota (07 July 2010).

   
       

 

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