Eristalis arbustorum

A small drone fly with a pale dusted face and no central dark stripe. The abdomial markings may be variable. 10mm long.

The adults are often seen hovering around flower heads in search of nectar on which they feed. The larvae live in stagnant water and are called ‘rat-tailed maggots’ because they have a siphon which can extend to about 5cm long which they use as a snorkel so they can breathe under water whilst feeding on decaying organic material. When fully grown, the larvae leave the water and find a sheltered, drier habitat to pupate. The pupae are reddish-brown in colour and retains the long tail which makes it resemble a small rodent.

Seen most months of the year, but more active in June to August.They are found in various habitats, including flowery meadows, hedgerows, woodland margins, and in flower-rich gardens. A common and widespread species.

Photographs taken June 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire.

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