(Platycheirus spp.)

hoverfly (Platycheirus sp.)
Photo by Alfredo Colon

Platycheirus is a large species of hoverflies. There are about 220 Platycheirus species worldwide, 75 species in North America north of Mexico, and at least 15 species in Minnesota.

Adults are found in moist woodlands, humid meadows, marshes, fens, and other wetlands, and on lake shores. They feed on the pollen of sedges and other low-growing, wind-pollinated plants. Larvae feed on aphids and decomposing plant material.


Platycheirus are relatively small, narrow-bodied hoverflies. The face is black. The compound eyes are bare. The exoskeletal plates above the first and second segments of the thorax (scutum and scutellum respectively) are black with no yellow markings. The swelling on each rear corner of the scutum (postpronotum) is bare. On the underside of the thorax, the area in between the middle and hind legs (metasternum) is unmodified, not small and diamond-shaped. The abdomen is usually black with pairs of yellow, orange, or silvery spots on each segment. The wings are longer than the abdomen. The vein on the leading edge of the wing (costa) ends at or slightly beyond the wing tip.

Identification to the species level requires close examination of the front leg and sometimes the middle leg of the male. Females of some species cannot be identified from a photograph.


Distribution Map



24, 27, 29, 30, 72, 82.

Telford, Horace S.. (1939). The Syrphidae of Minnesota. University of Minnesota. Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.

Skevington, J. H., Locke, M. M., Moran, K., Marshall, S. A., Crins, W. J., Young, A. D. (2019). Field Guide to the Flower Flies of Northeastern North America. United States: Princeton University Press.



Diptera (flies)  


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


  Zoosection Aschiza  




Syrphidae (hover flies)  


Syrphinae (typical hover flies)  



Subordinate Taxa


blackspine sedgesitter (Platycheirus scambus)

cobalt sedgesitter (Platycheirus pictipes)

comb-legged sedgesitter (Platycheirus immarginatus)

confusing sedgesitter (Platycheirus confusus)

coppery sedgesitter (Platycheirus luteipennis)

delicate sedgesitter (Platycheirus angustatus)

eastern forest sedgesitter (Platycheirus obscurus)

fourspot sedgesitter (Platycheirus rosarum)

hornhand sedgesitter (Platycheirus granditarsis)

many-tufted sedgesitter (Platycheirus scutatus)

meadow sedgesitter (Platycheirus quadratus)

nearctic broadhand sedgesitter (Platycheirus nearcticus)

pearly sedgesitter (Platycheirus hyperboreus)

silver sedgesitter (Platycheirus varipes)

smoky-winged sedgesitter (Platycheirus clypeatus)

Thompson’s sedgesitter (Platycheirus thompsoni)

twospear sedgesitter (Platycheirus nodosus)

yellow sedgesitter (Platycheirus modestus)

yellowspine sedgesitter (Platycheirus scamboides)






Common Names


This genus has no common name. All of the named species are called “sedgesitters”. However, I could find no source that referred to the genus itself by that common name. The common name for the family Syrphidae is hover flies, and it is used here for convenience.










On ferns: The central axis of a pinna, to which pinnules are attached. On mosses: the central axis (midvein) of a leaf. On insects: The vein on the leading edge of the forewing.



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.



The forward (anterior) portion of the middle segment of the thorax (mesonotum) in insects and some arachnids.






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Alfredo Colon

    hoverfly (Platycheirus sp.)      
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  Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, MN

hoverfly (Platycheirus sp.)  
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Created: 1/13/2021

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