Hover fly on mallow flower

I’ve mentioned before my reluctance to take random “bug on a flower” photos, but the colors of this hover fly (family Syrphidae) and the mallow flower (Malvaceae, possibly Abutilon pauciflorum) on which it was sitting were enough to capture my interest—a rare offering from this blog to dipterophiles. Even though I’m a beetle man, I’ve had reasonably good success identifying the varied insects across several orders and families that I’ve photographed at the Reserve. This one, however, has me a little stumped. I searched the syrphid gallery at Diptera.com but didn’t find a good match, the most similar being the Old World species Episyrphus balteatus. My best guess is something in the tribe Syrphini. Morgan? Keith? Phoridae?

Photographed last month at  in Buenos Aires.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2011

About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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17 Responses to Hover fly on mallow flower

  1. It looks very much like Episyrphus balteatus, do you not get this species over there? It’s exceptionally common in the UK… Definitely a syrphid and likely an Episyrphus I would think…

  2. Nice to see another fly on BitB! I just went through our entire Neotropical syrphid collection and didn’t see an exact match for this specimen. My best guess is a species of Toxomerus (there are reportedly more than 144 species in the Neotropics according to Chris Thompson in MCAD), but beyond that, I’m not sure. I’ve sent the post to our resident syrphid workers to see if they can pin it down further!

  3. Alex Wild says:

    The whole Bug-On-Flower thing is tough. It’s the insect photography equivalent of sunsets on the beach.

  4. Yeah but … It’s not always about art.
    A request for identification is always better accompanied by any focused picture one can get.

  5. Dave says:

    Bugs-on-flower pictures are very useful if you are interested in pollination ecology or conservation of pollinators. I’m glad you like chasing tiger beetles and borers, but I like having a record of who has been visiting whom.

    • I don’t talk about it much on this site because it doesn’t lend itself to photography, but a major focus of my research with woodboring beetle concerns their larval host plant associations. Drawing connections between organisms is cool.

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  7. Martin Hauser says:

    Ahhh, this is a tricky one… looks like Episyrphus, but it is kind of atypical Ocyptamus – in fact it is O. diversifasciatus! Nice pic!!
    http://bugguide.net/node/view/42822/bgimage
    Cheers
    Martin

  8. ed says:

    La planta no es Abutilon pauciflorum, en realidad es Sphaeralcea bonariensis. Muy buena la fotografía

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