short-tailed aphideater

(Eupeodes pomus)

Conservation Status
short-tailed aphideater
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed

 
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Short-tailed aphideater is a small, wasp-mimic, hover fly. It is widespread but uncommon across North America. It is uncommon in Minnesota. Larvae feed on aphids. Adults are found from mid-May to late October both in forests and in open habitats. They feed on flower nectar.

Adults are ¼ to ½ (6.8 to 12.0 mm) long. Females of this species cannot be distinguished from Eupeodes fumipennis and E. americanus.

The head is wider than the thorax. There are two large compound eyes on the sides of the head and three small simple eyes (ocelli) in a triangle on top of the head. The compound eyes are bare, with no erect hairs. On the male they meet at the top of the head. On the female they do not. The face is mostly yellow but has a brown stripe in the middle. The stripe may be broad and distinct or narrow and obscure. There are also two semicircular, pale brown to black spots above the bases of the antennae. The cheek is usually entirely yellow, rarely brownish toward the front and rear. The protruding mouthpart (proboscis) is short and fleshy. The antennae are short and have just three segments. On the third segment there is a stiff, forward-pointing bristle (arista).

The thorax is large, shiny, and black. It is covered with short, erect, yellow hairs, densely on the sides, sparsely above. The exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and thorax (scutellum) is large, rounded, dull yellow, and translucent. It is covered with pale yellow hairs above and has a moderately dense fringe on the rear margin.

The abdomen is longer and broader than the thorax, oval when viewed from above, and nearly flat when viewed from the side. It is black with bright yellow markings. There are five visible segments. On the male, segment 1 is very narrow and entirely black. Segment 2 has a pair of large spots that almost reach the lateral margins. On most individuals the spots are distinctly separated in the middle. On some individuals, they meet in the middle. Segments 3 and 4 each have a broad yellow band that does not quite reach the lateral margins. The forward margin of the band is nearly straight, the rear margin is nearly straight or shallowly concave in the middle. Segment 4 has a broad stripe on the rear margin. Segment 5 is yellow with a narrow black band. On the male the claspers on the genitalia are short.

The legs are mostly yellowish-orange. The first segment of each leg (coxa) is black. The base of the third segment (femur) of the front and middle legs is brown to black. The femur on the hind leg is slender, not thickened, and is brown to black on the basal half to basal four-fifths. On each leg the fourth segment (tibia) and the last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, are often brownish.

The wings are clear and are mostly covered with short erect hairs. The lobe attached to the base of the wing (alula) is broad and is itself wing-like. The inner third of the alula is bare, with no hairs. There is a spurious vein between the radius (R) and media (M) veins. The anal cell is long and is closed near the wing margin. The marginal, R5, and M2 cells are also closed. The R4+5 vein is nearly straight.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: ¼ to ½ (6.8 to 12.0 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Forests and open habitats

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Two generations per year: Mid-May to late October

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

 

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

Aphids

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Flower nectar

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 29, 30, 82.

 
  10/10/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Uncommon

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Diptera (gnats, mosquitoes, true flies)  
 

Suborder

Brachycera (circular-seamed flies, 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

Syrphini  
 

Genus

Eupeodes (aphideaters)  
  Subgenus Metasyrphus  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Syrphus qmericqnus var pomus

Syrphus qmericanus var. uinelandi

Syrphus pomus

Syrphus vinelandi

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

short-tailed aphideater

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Alula

A broad lobe at the base of the wing of some flies and beetles.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Spurious vein

A longitudinal, thickened line between the radius and media veins. It resembles a true vein but is not connected to any other veins.

 

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.

 

Tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot). The fifth segment of a spider leg or palp.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Alfredo Colon

 
    short-tailed aphideater   short-tailed aphideater  
           
 
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Other Videos
 
  Short-tailed Aphideater larva eating aphids (Eupeodes pomus)
brian0918
 
   
 
About

Sep 1, 2018

Hoverfly or Syrphid fly larva eating aphids from milkweed plant. Skip to 1:10

Identified as a Short-tailed Aphideater (Eupeodes pomus) here:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/16111102

 

 

Camcorder

 
 
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  Alfredo Colon
8/12/2019

Location: Woodbury, MN

short-tailed aphideater

 
  Alfredo Colon
8/5/2019

Location: Woodbury, MN

short-tailed aphideater

 
           
 
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Created: 10/10/2021

Last Updated:

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