There are over 280 species of hoverfly in the UK. Last week Duncan attended a training day on their identification although it’s only ever going to be a brief introduction in one day. There seems to be one species of the 280 with an English name, and this, the marmalade hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus), was hanging around on cranesbill flowers in the garden this afternoon.
At Dukesfield, just south of Hexham, there were a few more species feeding on hogweeds but most of them turned out to be the very common Eristalis pertinax. This is a large ‘bee-mimic’ hoverfly which is relatively easy to tell from its close relatives as it has yellow front and middle feet! There were both male and females of this hoverfly clearly demonstrating the key difference between the genders; the separation of the eyes. In most hoverflies the eyes meet on the male whereas the eyes of females are separated.