Episyrphus balteatus

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Episyrphus balteatus
Marmalade hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus) male.jpg
Whitecross Green Wood, Oxfordshire
Hoverfly December 2007-8.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Family: Syrphidae
Subfamily: Syrphinae
Tribe: Syrphini
Genus: Episyrphus
Species: E. balteatus
Binomial name
Episyrphus balteatus
(De Geer, 1776)
  • E. balteata
  • E. cannabinus (Scopoli, 1763)
  • E. scitule (Harris, 1780)
  • E. scitulus (Harris, 1780)
  • Epistrophe balteata
  • Musca balteatus De Geer, 1776
  • Musca cannabinus Scopoli, 1763
  • Musca scitule Harris, 1780
  • Musca scitulus Harris, 1780
  • Syrphus balteatus

Episyrphus balteatus, sometimes called the marmalade hoverfly,[1] is a relatively small hoverfly (9–12 mm) of the Syrphidae family, widespread throughout the Palaearctic region, which covers Europe, North Asia and North Africa. The upper side of the abdomen is patterned with orange and black bands. Two further identification characters are the presence of secondary black bands on the third and fourth dorsal plates and faint greyish longitudinal stripes on the thorax. Its color patterns may appear wasp-like to other animals, such as birds, protecting it from predation.[2]

E. balteatus can be found throughout the year in various habitats, including urban gardens, visiting flowers for pollen and nectar. They often form dense migratory swarms, which may cause panic among people for their resemblance to wasps. It is among the very few species of flies capable of crushing pollen grains and feeding on them. The larva is terrestrial and feeds on aphids.

As in most other hoverflies, males can be easily identified by their holoptic eyes, i.e., left and right compound eyes touching at the top of their heads.[3][4][5][6]



  1. ^ "Marmalade hoverfly - Episyrphus balteatus". Natural England. Retrieved December 17, 2009. 
  2. ^ Bain, R. S., et al. (2007). The key mimetic features of hoverflies through avian eyes. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 274(1621), 1949-54.
  3. ^ Ball, S.G.; Morris, R.K.A. (2000). Provisional atlas of British hoverflies (Diptera, Syrphidae). Monks Wood, UK: Biological Record Centre. pp. 167 pages. ISBN 1-870393-54-6. 
  4. ^ Morris, Roger, K. A. (1999). Hoverflies of Surrey. Surrey Wildlife Trust. p. 244. ISBN 0-9526065-3-4. 
  5. ^ Stubbs, Alan E. and Falk, Steven J. (1983). British Hoverflies: An Illustrated Identification Guide. British Entomological & Natural History Society. p. 253, xvpp. 
  6. ^ Van Veen, M.P. (2004). Hoverflies of Northwest Europe, Identification Keys to the Syrphidae (Hardback). Utrecht: KNNV Publishing. p. 254. ISBN 90-5011-199-8. 
  1. Verrall, G.H. (1901). British flies, vol. 8: Platypezidae, Pipunculidae and Syrphidae of Great Britain, reprint, 1969, E. W. Classey, Hampton.
  2. Chiney, Michael (2007), Insects of Britain and Western Europe. Domino Guides, A&C Black, London