orange-horned hammertail

(Sphegina campanulata)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

orange-horned hammertail

 

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common

Flight/Season

Early May to early August

Habitat

Moist deciduous and coniferous forests

Size

Total Length: 3 16to 5 16

          Photo by Alfredo Colon

Identification

Orange-horned hammertail is a small, long, slender, petiolate hoverfly. It is common in eastern North America, present but much less common in the west. It is found in moist deciduous and coniferous forests. Adults are 3 16to 5 16 (6 to 7 mm) long.

The thorax is entirely yellowish-, orangish-, or reddish-brown. The exoskeletal plate on the upper (dorsal) side has two broad pale longitudinal stripes. The plate between the abdomen and thorax (scutellum) is large and convex. It is colored like the thorax and has marginal bristles. Otherwise, the thorax is entirely bare. There is no subscutellar fringe of hairs. The side plates (metaplura) are joined creating a single plate (postmetacoxal bridge). The postmetacoxal bridge is complete and broad. The fourth plate on the underside is asymmetric, projecting out on the left side. It does not have black spine-like bristles.

The small, knob-like structures on each side of the thorax (halteres) are pale.

The abdomen is entirely yellowish-, orangish-, or reddish-brown. The second abdominal segment is narrow and elongated, longer than the remaining segments combined, creating a “petiole” between the thorax and the “hammer” at the end of the abdomen. The fourth segment is wider than the third. On the underside of the abdomen, the exoskeletal plate covering the first segment is absent. The ninth segment that supports the copulatory aparatus is very large.

The head is strongly concave. The large compound eyes are yellowish-, orangish-, or reddish-brown. They are not covered with hairs. Unlike most syrphid flies, the eyes of the male do not meet at the top of the head. The face is uniformly hairy. The antennae are short, about as long as the face. The large third antenna segment is oval and is partially or entirely orange, giving this fly its common name “orange-horned hammertail.” The long bristle on the antenna (arista) is nearly bare with hairs that are much shorter than the arista is wide.

The front and middle legs are pale. The third segment (femur) of the hind leg is mostly yellowish-, orangish-, or reddish-brown, whitish at the base. The fourth segment (tibia) of all legs is whitish at the base, darkening toward the tip. On the last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to a foot, the last two segments are black.

The wings are transparent and are completely covered with microscopic hairs.

 
Similar
Species

 


Larval Food

Decaying organic matter

 
Adult Food

 

 
Life Cycle

 

 
Behavior

 


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 29, 30.


Comments

 


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 (circular-seamed flies)

 

Section:

Aschiza

 

Superfamily:

Syrphoidea

 

Family:

Syrphidae (hover flies)

 

Subfamily:

Eristalinae

 

Tribe:

Brachyopini

 

Subtribe:

Spheginina

 

Genus:

Sphegina

 

Subgenus:

Asiosphegina

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

orange-horned hammertail


 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Halteres

In flies: a pair of knob-like structures on the thorax representing hind wings that are used for balance.

 

Mesonotum

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

 

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.

 

Tarsus

The last two to five subdivisions of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. Plural: tarsi.

 

Tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot).

 

 

 

 

 

       

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Alfredo Colon


  orange-horned hammertail   orange-horned hammertail

       
       
       

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Alfredo Colon
6/15/2018

Location: Woodbury, MN

orange-horned hammertail


     
     
 

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