Sun Fly (Helophilus pendulus) mating, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. July 2017.
Since I have built my garden wildlife pond this colourful fly has become a regular visitor.
It is called the Sun Fly (Helophilus pendulus), and sometimes more than one visits at a time, buzzing around quite noisily, alighting on stones and vegetation by the pond. They buzz around each other, maybe male and female in a courtship dance? or maybe they are two males battling for territory?
Whatever they are doing, they are fascinating to observe.
Photographs taken May and June 2016, rear garden pond, Staffordshire.
This is sometimes called the ‘Footballer’ due to its black and yellow striped thorax. The abdomen is distinctively black and yellow patterned, and the yellow face has a dark central stripe. The hind tibia is black in the distal third only. Length 13mm. It maybe confused with other Helophilus species, but mainly Helophilus hybridus.
The larvae are commonly called ‘rat-tailed maggots, and are aquatic, living in rotting vegetation in muddy conditions at the sides of ditches and ponds, even in puddles. The adults feed on nectar.
It flies April to October. Found almost anywhere, including gardens. Common and widespread.
Photographs taken April and June 2014, and June 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire.