Resembling a bee mimic to fool would-be predators just like the similar Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax), but Eristalis pertinax has a more tapering abdomen (especially the male), has pale yellow front and middle tarsi (feet), and lacks the dark facial stripe. Length 15mm.
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.
Flies March to November. They are found in various habitats, including flowery meadows, hedgerows, woodland margins, and especially numerous in flower-rich gardens. A common and widespread species.
Photographs of Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax) taken April 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.