eastern calligrapher

(Toxomerus geminatus)

Conservation Status
eastern calligrapher
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

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

Adults are ¼ to 5 16 (6.1 to 7.6 mm) in length. The coloration is an example of Batesian mimicry, resembling the warning coloration of stinging bees and wasps.

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.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

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

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Wasps (Hymenoptera) have relatively long antennae.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

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

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Late April to late October

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

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

Syrphid flies do not bite or sting.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

Aphids and mites

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Flower pollen and nectar

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 27, 29, 30, 82.

 
  12/20/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Very common

 
         
 
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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Alfredo Colon
       
  eastern calligrapher    
       
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   

Female

  eastern calligrapher    
       
       

 

Camera

     
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).

   
       

 

Camcorder

         
Visitor Sightings
   

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Alfredo Colon
8/2/2019

Location: Woodbury, MN

eastern calligrapher


         
         
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