Portrait small male marmalade hoverfly, made with magnification 8 and f/8 using a Canon 7D, a Canon MP-E 65mm/2.8 and a Canon 2x teleconverter.
Episyrphus balteatus, sometimes called the marmalade hoverfly, is a relatively small hoverfly (9–12 mm) of the Syrphidae family, widespread throughout all continents. Like most other hoverflies it mimics a much more dangerous insect, the solitary wasp, though it is a quite harmless species. 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 3rd and 4th dorsal plates and of faint greyish longitudinal stripes on the thorax.
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 its 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 the head (source: Wikipedia).
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Frontal portrait of a dronefly, made with magnification factor 4 and f/16, using a Canon 7D and a Canon macro lens MP-E 65 mm/f2.8.
Eristalis tenax is a European hoverfly, also known as the drone fly (or "dronefly"). It has been introduced into North America and is widely established.
The larva of E. tenax is a rat-tailed maggot. It lives in drainage ditches, pools around manure piles, sewage, and similar places containing water badly polluted with organic matter. The larva likely feeds on the abundant bacteria living in these places.
When fully grown, the larva creeps out into drier habitats and seeks a suitable place to pupate. In doing so it sometimes enters buildings, especially barns and basements on farms. The pupa is 10–12 mm long, grey-brown, oval, and retains the long tail; it looks like a tiny mouse.
The adult fly that emerges from the pupa is harmless. It looks somewhat like a drone honey bee, and likely gains some degree of protection from this resemblance to a stinging insect. The adults are called drone flies because of this resemblance. Like other hover flies, they are common visitors to flowers, especially in late summer and autumn, and can be significant pollinators.
In its natural habitat, E. tenax is more of a curiosity than a problem, and the adults are beneficial pollinators (source: Wikipedia).