hoverfly

(Helophilus fasciatus)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

hoverfly (Helophilus fasciatus)

NatureServe

not listed

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Fairly common

Flight/Season

Late March to early October

Habitat

 

Size

Total Length: to


Identification

This is a robust, medium-sized, to long hoverfly. It is somewhat bee-like in appearance.

The thorax is brownish-black with four longitudinal stripes. The two middle (dorsal) stripes are white, whitish, or pale yellow.

The abdomen is brownish-black with lemon yellow horizontal stripes. The first stripe is incomplete, interrupted in the middle (dorsally). The others are usually complete but not always. The male has 3 yellow stripes. The female abdomen is longer and has 4 yellow stripes. The plate between the abdomen and thorax (scutellum) is large, convex, and more or less translucent.

The wings are relatively large. The second cell on the leading edge of each wing toward the tip (pterostigma) is relatively broad and tinted brown. It does not have a cross vein. The marginal cell (R1) is open.

The head is rounded in the front, not flattened. There is a shiny, orange, vertical stripe on the front on the face. There are two large compound eyes and three very small simple eyes (occelli). The compound eyes of the male, like the female, do not meet at the top of the head, and are narrowed abruptly at the top of the face. On the female the margin is straight. This gives the male a much narrower area between the compound eyes at the top of the head (vertex). The occelli are are arranged in a triangle on the vertex. On the female the vertex and upper part of the face (frons) are completely covered with short black hairs and are narrower than the width of the pair of tubercles that bear the antennae (antennal process). The antennae are short.

The legs are mostly yellow with some dark brown or blackish-brown markings. The third segment of the hind leg (femur) is not spurred.

 
Similar
Species

Hoverfly (Helophilus latifrons) yellow abdominal stripes are broader. The male vertex is broad, not narrowed. The lower third if the female frons is covered with yellow hairs. The frons and vertex are wider than the antennal process. The legs are less extensively marked with black.


Larval Food

Submerged plant litter in ponds, mud, manure, and silage.

 
Adult Food

 

 
Life Cycle

 

 
Behavior

 


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 7, 27, 29.

 


Comments

No Common Name?
There are about 6,000 species in 200 genera of hoverflies. They are often seen hovering at flowers, hence their common name. Few of them merit a unique common name. Our species, Helophilus fasciatus, though fairly common, is not one of these, so we will call it “hoverfly” followed by its scientific name.


Taxonomy

Order:

Diptera (gnats, mosquitoes, true flies)

 

Suborder:

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

 

Infraorder:

Muscomorpha

 

Section:

Aschiza

 

Superfamily:

Syrphoidea

 

Family:

Syrphidae (hover flies)

 

Subfamily:

Eristalinae

 

Tribe:

Eristalini

 

Subtribe:

Helophiliina

 
Synonyms

Eristalis decisus

Helophilus appensus

Helophilus similis

Helophilus susurrans

 
Common
Names

hoverfly


 

 

 

 

Glossary

antennal process

In Diptera, the antenniferous tubercles.

 

antenniferous tubercle

In Aphididae and Syrphidae, one of a pair of tubercles bearing the antenna. In Hemiptera, tubercles close to the base of the antennae.

 

femur

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

 

frons

The upper part of an insect’s face, roughly corresponding to the forehead.

 

ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

pterostigma

In Odonata and Hymenoptera, the dark, blood-filled second cell at the leading edge of each wing toward the tip. It is heaver than adjacent, similar sized areas and is thought to dampen wing vibrations and signal mates. [= stigma. More precise than stigma but less often used, even by entomologists.]

 

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.

 

vertex

The upper surface of an insect’s head.

 

 

 

 

 

       

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Male

  hoverfly (Helophilus fasciatus)   hoverfly (Helophilus fasciatus)
       
  hoverfly (Helophilus fasciatus)    
       
       

 

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  Heliophilus fasciatus
Allen Chartier
 
  Heliophilus fasciatus  

 

slideshow

     

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Other Videos

 
  Mosca/abeja (Helophilus fasciatus)
Eulalia Rubio
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 29, 2012

Orden Diptera (moscas)
Familia Syrphidae (moscas syrphid)
Género Helophilus
Especies fasciatus (Helophilus fasciatus)

Helophilus fasciatus es una especie de mosca que imita a las abejas o avispas, tanto en coloración como en comportamiento. Se alimentan sólo con polen y néctar. Estaba sobre una planta de lantana en los Jardines del Río Turia, Valencia.

Feeding only on pollen and nectar, Helophilus fasciatus is a species of hover fly that mimics bees or wasps in both coloration and behavior.

 
     
  Hover Fly (Syrphidae: Helophilus fasciatus) Grooming
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Apr 21, 2010

Warmed by the late afternoon sun, this hover fly gives itself a thorough grooming. Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (20 April 2010). Thank you to Bastiann for the identification (@Syrphidae.com)!

 
     
  Syrphid Fly - November 6, 2013
Don Gagnon
 
   
 
About

Published on Nov 6, 2013

Syrphid Fly (Helophilus fasciatus), Nectaring Sheffield Pink Chrysanthemum, Butterfly Garden, Gagnon Wildlife Habitat, Pottersville, Somerset, Massachusetts, Wednesday afternoon, November 6, 2013, 1:17 PM - Canon PowerShot SX50 HS MVI_56062; 33 min.

 
     
  Hover Fly (Syrphidae: Helophilus fasciatus) Female Ovipositing
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 25, 2010

Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (25 July 2010).

 
     
  Hover Fly (Syrphidae: Helophilus fasciatus) Grooming
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Apr 25, 2010

Showing an oblique view of a Syrphid fly grooming. Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (24 April 2010). Thank you to Bastiann for the identification (@Syrphidae.com)!

 
     

 

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