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For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
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Species Eristalis tenax - Drone Fly

Another fly to ID please. - Eristalis tenax - male Not a bee - Syrphid? - Eristalis tenax FLY MIMICKING A BEE  - Eristalis tenax Hoverfly sp? - Eristalis tenax Fly on tundra - Eristalis tenax Black/brown/yellow Bee Mimic - Eristalis tenax Eristalis tenax - male Unknown Thing - Eristalis tenax
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon ("Aschiza")
Family Syrphidae (Syrphid Flies)
Subfamily Eristalinae
Tribe Eristalini
Subtribe Eristalina
Genus Eristalis
No Taxon (Subgenus Eristalis)
Species tenax (Drone Fly)
Explanation of Names
Author of species is Linnaeus, 1758.
10-12 mm
13-15 mm (Canada)
Measures in Bugguide rank between 12 and 15 mm.
Its body is darkish brown with orange yellow patches on the sides and upper surface, and it is covered with short fine hairs. It looks remarkably like a honeybee (Apis mellifera).
The different species of Eristalis are very difficult to distinguish, but Eristalis tenax is one of the commonest of these honeybee mimics.
It has two vertical bands of hairs on the eyes.
From Alaska to Labrador and south into California and Florida.
Late March to early December; most common in September and October.
The adults feed on nectar from flowers and are often seen hovering in front of flower blooms in gardens in both urban and rural areas. The larvae feed on rotting organic material in stagnant water in a variety of locations.
Life Cycle
The larva of the Drone-Fly feeds on decaying organic material in stagnant water in small ponds, ditches and drains. Such water usually contains little or no oxygen and the larva breathes through the long thin tube that extends from its rear end to the surface of the water and that gives it its common name of ‘rat-tailed maggot’.
Introduced in North America prior to 1874.