Family Syrphidae - Syrphid Flies
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon ("Aschiza")
Family Syrphidae (Syrphid Flies)
Other Common Names
Flower Flies, Hover Flies
>800 spp. in ~100 genera in our area(1)
, ~6,000 spp. in ~200 genera worldwide(2)
Overview of our fauna
* –taxa not yet in the guide¹
; classification follows(1)(3)
; for genera represented in our area by a single subgenus, subgenera not indicated.
Subtribe Xylotina Brachypalpus
Tribe Syrphini Allograpta
1-35 mm, typically 10-20 mm
Can be recognized by the spurious wing vein(4)
Many mimic wasps/bees and may even buzz like bees, but do not bite or sting.
Key to nearctic genera in(1)
Guide to the northeastern fauna in(5)
Key to Canadian Syrphinae in(6)
throughout North America and worldwide
many adults frequent flowers; some larvae live in ant nests, and a few are associated with wasps.
Larvae may feed on decaying vegetation, aquatic detritus, wet wood, bulbs of forbs of living plants, but most are predators; Many species of Allograpta, Baccha, Mesograpta, Melanostoma, Paragus, Pipiza, Scaeva, Syrphus, Metasyrphus
, and Sphaerophoria
are important aphid predators; larvae of Baccha, Pipiza, Scaeva, Syrphusi
, and Metasyrphus
feed on coccids. (Weems 1954
). Adults often feed on nectar and/or pollen
Role as aphid biocontrol agents, with many examples & good photos, described in(8)
Larvae that live in water with much decaying organic matter have a long anal breathing tube, and are called "rat-tailed maggots".
|1.||Key to the genera of nearctic Syrphidae|
Miranda G.F.G, Young A.D., Locke M.M., Marshall S.A., Skevington J.H., Thompson F.C. 2013. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification 23: 1-351.
|6.||The flower flies of the subfamily Syrphinae of Canada, Alaska, and Greenland, Diptera: Syrphidae|
J.R. Vockeroth. 1991. The insects and arachnids of Canada, Pt. 18. Ottawa: Agriculture Canada. 456 pp.
|9.||Phylogeny of the Syrphoidea (Diptera) inferred from mtDNA sequences and morphology...|
Skevington J.H., Yeates D.K. 2000. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 16: 212–224.
|11.||A comparative analysis of the evolution of imperfect mimicry|
Penney H.D., Hassall C., Skevington J.H., Abbott K.R., Sherratt T.N. 2012. Nature 483: 461–464.
|12.||The evolution of imperfect mimicry in hoverflies|
Gilbert F. 2005. Insect Evolutionary Ecology: Proc. Royal Ent. Society's 22nd Symposium: 231–288.
|13.||Syrphidae of Oklahoma (Diptera)|
Shorter D.A., Drew W.A. 1976. Proc. Okla. Acad. Sci. 56: 75-94.