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Syrphid Fly - Sphaerophoria - female

Syrphid Fly - Sphaerophoria - Female
Lacey (near Olympia), Thurston County, Washington, USA
August 24, 2007
Did you ever have one of those days when either you were moving or the subject was? When all the settings on your camera must have been wrong? When every specimen jumps or flies away a millisecond before you push the shutter button? When you go back to the computer and find out that out of 100 pictures only 2 turned out (and those were of the plant after the bug left)? That was yesterday!! Today I actually found a couple insects new to my collection, and some of the shots turned out ok! :)

This syrphid has pretty distinct markings. Any syrphidophiles out there able to at least get this one to a genus. I tried the guide and didn't do too well.

In the third pic, ?she? was dipping her tail end down to touch the leaves on every third or fourth plant. I didn't see any obvious eggs, but I assume that's what ?she? was doing? She was pretty committed to just dandelion flowers and dandelion leaves. Nothing else seemed to interest her.

Images of this individual: tag all
Syrphid Fly - Sphaerophoria - female Syrphid Fly - Sphaerophoria - female Syrphid Fly - Sphaerophoria - female Syrphid Fly - Sphaerophoria - female Syrphid Fly - Sphaerophoria - female Syrphid Fly - Sphaerophoria - female

Moved from Frass.

Moved from ID Request.

Please keep this series, for several reasons.
We don't have any photos of ovipositing, which may be shown in your third shot. Minimally, this is a posture shown nowhere else for this syrphid.

All these are IDed only to genus. Intent is, someday, to take them to species. Crisp photos like yours have a good chance of gaining a finer ID.

We really don't have many photos of this genus, and your are quite nice.

Of course, the decision to frass is yours alone. I'd suggest you move these to genus. They'll do well there!

Just tag them all and move them here if you think they're keepers:

To frass or not to frass
Thanks for your kind words. I'm trying to get a handle on being a good contributor (and cleaner-upper) here. In the past I've just let someone move my shot to either a spot in the guide or frass depending on what someone more knowledgable than myself felt. I was just starting to clear out some of my photos today that were either just sitting in ID request (which I've come to learn gets completely overloaded) or just additional copies of photos that others with MUCH nicer optics have already covered. Guess I'm still learning.

As to this particular series, I have a number of other shots with her doing this same behavior. She actually let me crawl across the lawn after her taking around a couple dozen shots...probably a half dozen or so of which show her ?laying eggs? Would it be better if I just frassed the two regular shots and contributed 2-3 egg laying shots instead? I always try to limit the shots I put on ID request to two (three outside if there's something interesting like her behavior).

Thanks for your patience. I know the more experienced of you probably spend more hours than you'd like policing the site as it is...

No policeman, no editor here. Just a cheerleader.
Hey, my initials are RAH, so I'm a natural. Do keep at least the first "regular" shot as it IDs the insect very well. I'd delete the middle image and add another one or more with the "ovipositing" posture. (If one of the added shots shows wing veins clearly, that's a major bonus!)

Moved from frass, but...
Ok, I pulled the shots from frass, and I added two more with the ovipositing posture (please feel free to look at the 5 photos now and suggest whether to keep them or dump particular ones), AND I put together a wing picture from the best shots I had of the wings to show the veins. My pics do add one data point (Washington in August), but you said higher up in our exchange that we don't have a lot of pics of this genus -- Ron, there are over 100!! :) While I like my pics, and I hope the wing veins help now for future ID...

Nice shots of Sphaerophoria
Yes, they have distinct markings and aren't among the most common syrphids. I think this is female and that the males have very different shapes at the end of the abdomen.

Yeah, I've had those bad days, too. But when you get something like this, your time in the field is certainly well spent.

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