Sunday, 11 September 2011

Sorting out one's Eristalis bulge

There is something special, I find, about watching a hoverfly in suspended animation right in front of your nose, especially if you can get the sun on it but highlighted against a darker background. They stay so perfectly positioned with just a glinting blur of wings.

Last weekend I spent a happy half hour fiddling about trying to catch this in a photograph.  I've had a draft post hanging round for a while, incomplete, and just as I was about to finish it off, in pops a post from Blackbird's splendid Bugblog with a photo exactly the same as the ones I was trying to get only different.  The difference being that hers is nice and sharp and top quality ....and mine isn't.  Maybe if I keep it small you might not notice.

It's a little easier to focus once they settle.....

and this one was easier still. It's a wrap.

(If anyone would care to put a name to these for me that would be jolly decent.)

The bee mimicking hoverfly below looks odd in that it seems to have only one eye - you can't see the clear line of division normally visible between the two.  That's because I caught it in the middle of cleaning its eyes and it has rotated its head through a full 90 degrees.  They are fascinating to watch as they clean their lenses using the front pair of legs like windscreen wipers to scrape over the eye surfaces and scoop off the dust etc.

In terms of identifying this one, I made use of Stuart's helpful 'Eristalis bulge' tip - see his Donegal Wildlife blog - where he does a nice piece on hoverfly i/d for numpties (thanks Stuart).  This hoverfly had the tell tale loop in the wing vein which identifies it readily as one of the Eristalis group.

And talking of hovering, I think it's time for my mouse to hover over the amazon web site and find that book on Syrphidae identification.

( PS: For more super-duper superior flight shots - check out Phil's post here.)

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