Explanation of Names
Syrphus Fabricius 1775
From Greek syrphos (συρφος), a small winged insect, "gnat"
The only genus in the Syrphini that has long hairs on the lower lobe of the calypter is Syrphus and that is used to separate the genus from all related genera.
Another feature you will find in most Syrphus (but not in all and also in some species in other genera) is a dull mesonotum. Many Syrphinae have a strongly shining mesonotum, sometimes with two whitish stripes near the anterior margin. When you look carefully you can sometimes discern very vague stripes in some other species.
A character of Eupeodes not found in Syrphus is the margined abdomen (see thumbnails below). A second character (but be more careful with this one) is that Eupeodes has paired spots on the tergites that may merge to form bands. And that is where you have to be careful. (Comments by Paul Beuck).
abdomen of Eupeodes (note black margin) and Syrphus
has hairy eyes (more in the male than in the female). Syrphus opinator
is the common species in central California. Syrphus torvus
is more northern and early spring only. Syrphus opinator
has the abdominal fasciae (bands) restricted to the sides and isolated from the margins. There are other characters such as the distribution of microscopic hairs on the wing that separate these species." Comment
on how to distinguish S. torvus
from S. opinator
by Chris Thompson
Larvae with pattern of white, yellow/red or brown colors with 4 or 5 pairs of chevrons.
New World, Eurasia, Africa(2)
Larvae feed on aphids. Adults take nectar and pollen.
Larva | Puparium
| Puparium ready to eclose | Adult and pupal case