British Wildlife 33.6 May 2022

Understanding Eristalis hoverflies: a guide to identification

Of all the hoverflies in Britain, members of the Eristalis genus are some of the most familiar, but they can prove difficult to identify. Roger Morris and Stuart Ball demonstrate how to determine that an insect is actually a hoverfly, and provide a detailed key to Eristalis accompanied by accounts for each of the ten species found in Britain.

Among Britain’s hoverflies, the genus Eristalis is one of the most obvious and regularly reported: several species rank in the top five of reported sightings, and Eristalis species comprise a high proportion of the hoverflies seen at certain times of year. In the spring, E. tenax prevails in late February and March, followed by E. pertinax as soon as temperatures rise.

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