yellow-shouldered drone fly

(Eristalis stipator)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

yellow-shouldered drone fly

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common in Minnesota

Flight/Season

Late May to mid-September

Habitat

 

Size

Total Length: to ½ (10 to 13 mm)

   
   
   
   
    Photo by Alfredo Colon
 
Identification

Yellow-shouldered drone fly is a common, hairy, medium-sized hoverfly. It occurs throughout the United States and southern Canada but is most common in central and southwest United States. It is common in Minnesota. Adults are found from late May to mid-September. They feed on flower nectar.

Adults are robust, bee-like in appearance, and to ½ (10 to 13 mm) in length.

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 densely hairy 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. The first and second segments are short. The third segment is flat and longest on the bottom, shorter and rounded on top. At the base of the third segment there is a long, forward-pointing bristle (arista) on the upper side. The arista is not feather-like (plumose). It often has a tight group of one to six short bristles on the upper side near the base, but is otherwise bare. Sometimes it is completely bare. The protruding mouthpart (proboscis) is short and fleshy.

The thorax is dark blackish-brown, shiny, unmarked, and densely covered with short, erect, buff-colored hairs. It 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. There is a convex swelling, called the posterior callus or postalar callus, on the upper rear corners of the scutum. All of the hair on the posterior callus and the scutellum is yellow. This is the feature that gives the insect its common name. The scutellum is not fringed.

The abdomen is black and is densely covered with short, buff-colored, erect hairs. It has five segments. The first segment is narrow and entirely black. The second segment has a broad yellowish band that is broken in the middle. The second, third, and fourth segments each have an inconspicuous, thin, white band at the front margin and a conspicuous, narrow white band on the rear margin. The third segment is shiny and black with no orange or yellow markings. The fourth segment has long white hairs on the rear third. 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. The basal half of the fourth segment (tibia) of each leg is white or yellowish. The last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, is black.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Larval Food

Small organisms

 
Adult Food

Flower nectar

 
Life Cycle

 

 
Behavior

 

 
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 latifrons

 
Common
Names

yellow-shouldered 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.

 

Pterostigma

The dark, blood-filled second cell at the leading edge of each wing toward the tip on many insects. 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.

 

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.

 

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
       
  yellow-shouldered drone fly    
       
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Alfredo Colon
8/5/2019

Location: Woodbury, MN

yellow-shouldered drone fly


     
     
 
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Created: 1/7/2021

Last Updated:

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