Currently viewing the category: "Syrphid Flies"
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Greetings from Topeka, Kansas,
I have a couple pics here of a hover fly, sort of a hornet mimic. Handsome little fellow. (OK I have no idea about it’s gender) It was very patient too, as I had to keep nudging him/her with my finger to get a face shot. Peace! –
Jeff Volpert

Hi Jeff,
This lovely Hover Fly is probably Spilomyia longicornis, or a closely related species. This fly mimics Polistes Wasps or Yellowjackets. According to BugGuide, this is a widespread species in the eastern states.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What’s this bug?
Can you identify what this hornet? is? I’m from the UK. Thanks for your help.

Hi Rob,
This is not a hornet. It is a fly. More specifically, it is a Hover Fly in the family Syrphidae, tribe Volucellini and genus/species Volucella inanis, which we located after a bit of research. In the U.S. there is a space between the words hover and fly, but the UK website that identified your specimen does not include the space. In the US, since this is a true fly, the word fly is given autonomy in the common name to distinguish a true fly from other flying insects like butterflies, dragonflies or dobsonflies. Many Hover Flies, which are also called Flower Flies, mimic bees and wasps. This could be a protective mimicry when they are feeding since they cannot sting, but the insects they mimic can. Larvae of this fly are scavengers in bumble-bee or wasp nests.

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Fly Picture
I captured this beautiful looking fly in late July in Dublin, Ohio. Please could you identify. Thank you.

Hi Andrea,
Collectively, the flies in the family Syrphidae are known as Hover Flies, Flower Flies or Syrphid Flies. Your species is a real beauty, Spilomyia interrupta.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I just dunno about this one…
Good evening Mr. Bugman!
I am of course in need of your help in identifying a bee/wasp that I have encountered several times in my front yard. Let me stop and first say that I LOVE your site, and while I am pretty jumpy when it comes to most bugs, especially when they are on my person, (typical girl, I know) I have come to understand that they are here for a very good reason, thanks in part to you guys!! Ok I digress…back to my mystery bee/wasp. I live in Louisiana about 25 miles north of Shreveport on about 30 some odd acres, full of mostly pine and maple trees. In front of our house we have a nice sized tree stump, that we attempted to burn, (unsuccessfully). Everyday I go and come from work for about the past two months (or so) I have seen this nice sized insect hovering around this stump…basically protecting it, so it seems. It lands sometimes and pulsates it’s abdoman but I never see it doing anything else but chase off other insects. When I came home today I actually saw it mating with another one, and I ran inside for my camera, but by the time I came out it was by itself again. I checked every single bee, and wasp website I could find, (of course including yours), but got nowhere. Help me please Mr. Bugman! Thankfully yours,
Erica B.
Benton, LA

Hi Erica,
The reason your search was fruitless is that this is not a bee nor a wasp. It is a Yellow Jacket Hover Fly, Milesia virginiensis. As its common name indicates, it is a fly that mimics a yellow jacket. You can locate more information on this Syrphid Fly on BugGuide.

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weird orange legged fly
I have noticed these all over Alberta Canada. I have no idea what kind of two winged fly it is. any ideas?
Dave Sward

Hi Dave,
We haven’t had any luck identifying this creature. We hope Eric Eaton has the answer. Eric’s response: “The unidentified fly appears to be a syrphid, family Syrphidae. The classification I have not kept up with, but it reminds me of the genus Xylota. I’ll see if I can’t get more specific later on.” Later Eric added this: “It is either a species of Xylota, or Chalcosyrphus (which was split from Xylota some time ago).”

Update: May 22, 2011
Might this be
Chalcosyrphus curvaria based on this BugGuide imagery?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Yellow Jacket Hover Fly
Here are some more pictures from Eagle River, Alaska. These are a hover fly that is an excellent yellow jacket mimic. Their front legs are black and they usually hold them out in front and wave them about like yellow jacket antennae. The other four legs are yellow like a yellow jacket. In these pictures, it is hard to see the front legs, as he is using them to eat. These are very hard to distinguish from the local yellow jackets. The only reason they are easy to spot this year is there are no yellow jackets near my house. We had a late, cold spring, followed by a hot dry summer, and all the yellow jackets and hornets seem to have died off. Last year, there were so many that my yard had a constant loud hum from the thousands of yellow jackets. Anyway, all the yellow jacket mimics really stand out this year (like the wasp moth I sent last month). Also, here is another hover fly. The color morphology was different from the others I have seen on your site, so I thought you would like to add them to your collection. Finally, here are two beetles on a wild prickly rose. I’m not really looking for an ID, I just thought it was a neat picture and figured you’d like it. (sorry about the black specks, the image sensor was dirty and I was using a very small aperture). I’m sure you are swamped with bug pictures right now, but would you be interested in a CD of some of the better ones from this summer? I could send you one this winter after things slow down a bit.
ps. If anyone is interested, the camera used was a Canon EOS 5D with a EF – 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens and MT-24 Macro Flash

Hi David,
Yes, we really are swamped right now, but there seems to never be a slow time. Winter in US means summer in Australia, and we get many requests from Down Under. WE feel guilty when we do not respond to your letters, but we have a better request than you sending us a CD. A CD would not have an explanatory letter and we like having information. Please limit your submissions to one insect, or type of insect, per letter. It makes it so difficult to get your letters with four or five wonderful images that need to be posted on numerous pages so we procrastinate, then forget. Off the tops of our heads, we cannot even recall the Wasp Moth you mention in this letter. Did we post it? If not, please resend with information. Meanwhile, we are happy to post your unidentified Alaskan Hover Flies. The Yellow Jacket mimic might be the genus Chrysotoxum.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination