Scientific Name: Syrphus vitripennis (Syrphidae Syrphini).
English Name: Glass-winged Syrphus; Lesser Banded Hover Fly (Hover fly family, Syrphini tribe).
5 Key Characters:
- scutellum (the small semi-circular part between the thorax and the abdomen) tawny yellowish.
- strong yellow 'moustache' bands on the abdomen.
- eyes hairless.
- hind femur (thigh) is black for most of its length from the base (females only).
- rather small for a Syrphus.
It is very easy to mistake this species for the other very similar bare eyed Common Banded Hover Fly S. ribesii or S. rectus. Females can be distinguished because S. vitripennis has black on the hind femur, the other two have entirely yellow hind femora. Males need to be checked for the presence of black hairs in the yellow part of the hind femur. S. vitripennis does not have the black hairs, but they can be very difficult to see, requiring just the right light and angle. In common with many flies, males and females can be distinguished by whether the eyes touch (males) or are divided (females).
Habitat: Found in most habitats. The larvae predate aphids and overwinter in leaf litter beneath aphid infested trees, especially sycamores.
Flight Period: March-April-May-June-July-August-September-October-November.
Status: Common and widespread.
Photographed by Loire Valley Nature: