orange-legged drone fly

(Eristalis flavipes)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

orange-legged drone fly

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common in Minnesota

Flight/Season

Mid-May to mid-October

Habitat

Wetlands and a wide variety of other habitats

Size

Total Length: 716 to (11.0 to 16.1 mm)

Photo by Alfredo Colon
 
Identification

Orange-legged drone fly is common, hairy, medium-sized, hoverfly. It occurs throughout Canada and in the northern two-thirds of the United States. It is most abundant east of the Great Plains. It is common in Minnesota. Adults are found from mid-May to mid-October mostly in wetlands but also in a wide variety of other habitats. They feed on flower nectar.

Adults are robust and 716 to (11.0 to 16.1 mm) in length. They are bumble bee mimics.

The head is hemispherical and slightly broader than the thorax. There are two large compound eyes on the sides of the head and and three small simple eyes (ocelli) in a triangle on top of the head. The compound eyes are dark brown and are densely covered with short erect hairs. On the male they meet at the top of the head. On the female they do not. They are not spotted or banded. The face is black and shiny, and is not projected forward. The antennae are short and are inserted near the middle of the head. They are dark brown and have just three segments. At the base of the third segment there is a long, forward-pointing bristle (arista) on the upper side. The arista is bare, not feather-like (plumose). The protruding mouthpart (proboscis) is short and fleshy.

The thorax is black and has three segments. Each segment has four principal exoskeletal plates, one above, one below, and one on each side. The upper (dorsal) plates, from front to rear, are the prescutum, scutum, and scutellum. The prescutum is densely covered with yellow hairs. The hair is dense enough to completely obscure the base color. The scutum is black, shiny, and mostly bare but with dense yellow hairs on the lateral margins. The scutellum is yellow and densely covered with yellow hairs.

The abdomen is black and is densely covered with long erect hairs. It has five segments. The first segment is narrow and entirely black. The hair on the upper side of the basal third of the second segment is yellow, black, or more commonly a mix of the two colors. The hair on the upper side of the third segment and the outer two thirds of the second segment may be entirely black, yellow, or orange, or a mix of two or all three colors. The fifth segment is small and entirely black.

The wings are clear. There is a spurious vein between the radius (R) and media (M) veins. The R4+5 vein is deeply bent (sinuous), appearing “bumped” downward in the middle. The anal cell is long and is closed near the wing margin. The marginal, R1, R5, and M2 cells are also closed.

The legs are mostly black. On the hind leg, the last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, is orange. This is the feature that gives the insect its common name.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Larval Food

Small organisms

 
Adult Food

Flower nectar

 
Life Cycle

 

 
Behavior

It makes a loud buzzing sound when flying.

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 27, 29, 30, 82, 83. Telford, Horace S.. (1939). The syrphidae of Minnesota. University of Minnesota. Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.

 
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:

Eristalini

 

Subtribe:

Eristalina

 

Genus:

Eristalis

 

Subgenus:

Eoseristalis

 
Synonyms

Eristalis americanus

Eristalis melanostomus

Eristalis rufipilis

Musca tomentosa

 
Common
Names

orange-legged drone fly

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Arista

A large bristle on the upper side of the third segment of the antenna of a fly.

 

Ocellus

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

 

Proboscis

The protruding mouthpart(s) of a sucking 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.

 

Scutum

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

 

Tarsus

On insects, the last two to five subdivisions of the leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. On spiders, the last segment of the leg. Plural: tarsi.

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Alfredo Colon
       
  orange-legged drone fly    
       
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Other Videos
 
  BUMBLEBEE MIMIC FLY Eristalis flavipes foraging
Rob Curtis
 
   
 
About

Aug 20, 2019

Eristalis flavipes ORANGE-LEGGED DRONE FLY outstanding Bumbleee mimic foraging. Skokie Lagoons FP, IL 8/5/2019.

   
       

 

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Alfredo Colon
8/4/2019

Location: Woodbury, MN

orange-legged drone fly


     
     
 
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Created: 1/8/2021

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