Monday, October 7, 2013

Syrphid U.S.A.

Everybody’s gone syrphid, syrphid U.S.A.
[with apologies to the Beach Boys]

[click to enlarge these photos! you won't regret it!]

These days, one of my favorite subjects for macro photography is the hover fly, also known at the common oblique syrphid fly. These guys are bee look-alikes that hang out in flowers, often alongside actual bees. Like bees, they’re there for the nectar, and like bees, they can be important pollinators.

This particular hover fly kept being pushed off its sunflower by the arrival of larger carpenter and bumble bees, but as soon as the heavies moved on, it came back, often pausing to pose in an extremely photogenic way.

I haven’t been able to find a lot of information on hover flies and their habits, but the Peterson Field Guide to Insects (Borror and White, 1970) informs me that syrphid flies can be identified by “a spurious vein” in their wings.

This doesn’t seem like the most helpful identifying marker for an animal this small and frenetically active, but I have to say, I love the phrase. I think if a bunch of hover flies ever start up a band, they should call themselves Spurious Vein.

And that’s the extent of my Monday musings.

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}


pattinase (abbott) said...

Truly gorgeous. Hope A & A have arrived safely.

Olivia V. Ambrogio said...

Thanks, Patti! They're not here yet, but we hope they'll arrive in a couple of hours.

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