Subject: Some kind of hoverfly?
Geographic location of the bug: Pu’u Wa’awa’a, Big Island, Hawaii
Time: 06:32 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Greetings,
I saw this fly on a mamane flower at around 4,000 feet, near the top of Pu’u Wa’awa’a. It looks like some kind of hoverfly. I thought the markings on the back end would make it easy to ID, but I can’t find one that looks exactly like this. Any ideas would be appreciated.
How you want your letter signed: Graham
This is indeed a Hover Fly or Flower Fly in the family Syrphidae, a group whose members often impersonate stinging Bees and Wasps as protective mimicry. Many members of the family closely resemble one another, so exact species identification can be difficult, and this is further exacerbated in Hawaii where many insects and other creatures are not native. This FlickR image of Allograpta obliqua looks very similar, and according to BugGuide data, it is a very far ranging species across North America, making it a likely candidate for its also living in Hawaii. According to Phorid.net: “This species is found from North America to Southern South America, and has been introduced in Hawaii. A few specimens were collected at both our Year 1 Malaise trap sites. The larvae feed on aphids, and were found to be a major component of the syrphid fauna of organic lettuce fields on the Central Coast of California.”
Many thanks for the identification. That certainly looks like what I saw. Armed with that information, I found several other sites (scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.
Keep up the good work.