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Fly - Myathropa florea - female

Fly - Myathropa florea - Female
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, USA
May 4, 2005
Is this a type of bee fly?

Congratulations. New for the Nearctic!!
Hello Brian,
I informed one of the World experts on Syrphidae on this one. Dr. Christian Thompson from the Smithsonian was in the Netherlands visiting the third world symposium on Syrphidae, just like I was.
I showed him this picture on Bugguide and he confirmed that it should be Myathropa florea, which would be the first finding of this species in the Nearctic! So congratulations for that!! :-)))
Now all that has to be done is that somebody catches one to act as voucher specimen for a museum!
Gerard Pennards

Definitive differences
Hi Gerard.
Wow, that's amazing. Could you tell me how significant the discovery is to you and Dr. Thompson? Is it a very big deal? Or is it inevitable?

Also, I have since seen flies that may or may not be the same species. Can you help me to tell the difference between Myatropha florea and other similar flies such as Eristalis? What features should I be looking for?

For instance, I also posted this pic: which looked pretty similar to me.


Inevitable I would say!
Hello Brian,
I think in this case it was just a matter of time before you would find it in the nearctic. In europe it is widespread and common, a good sign for a very adaptable species. Like I mentioned before, it's larvae live in rotholes in logs and other wood, so it probably has been shipped with timber or something like that.
But anyhow, you are still the first person to deliver proof of it's occurence in the Nearctic! Like I said before, the only thing we need is a voucher specimen for a museum! The difference with Eristalis is that this species is usually very yellow, and it's thorax has some yellow markings that with some fantasy can be seen as a skull.
Gerard Pennards
By the way, the other picture is a Eristalis sp., so not this species!

Is this a new introduction or is the species holarctic?

Probably introduced
Otherwise the species would have been found earlier I guess.
It is quite common in big parts of Europe, and it's larvae live in rot holes in trees, but also in little pools between roots.
Maybe it came with timber or something like that.
Gerard Pennards

Is this a new introduction or is the species holarctic?
Sorry, can't delete this duplicate entry.

Myatropha florea
Hello Brian, hello Beatriz,
Great find!! Yes, it is a syrphid allright, but not from the genus Eristalis. This one belongs to the very close related genus Myatropha, of which there is in the biggest part of Europe just one species: M. florea. This one is widespread, but!!!! I didn't know that it also occurs in the Nearctic! I will do a check on it, and inform you of the results!
Meantime, look at:
Gerard Pennards

Thanks, Gerard. Unfortunately, I only have the one pic that I know of. But I'll keep a look out - in the park and in my files. For a moment, I thought this fly - shot nearby 25 minutes earlier - was the same. Similar pattern on its back. But now I see its eyes are arranged entirely different:

Hello Brian...
I don't know if you still visit BugGuide (it's been almost 4 years since this post!), but I thought you might interested in seeing that someone has finally photographed a male fly of this species (see here). I also thought that I might point out to you that in one of your comments you mentioned that the eyes of a similar fly you photographed were "arranged entirely different" -- this is actually a sexual trait and not a characteristic of it being a different species. In syrphid flies, the males eyes are significantly larger than females and usually touch at the top of the head. Your image of M. florea was a female, while your image of E. tenax was a male.

This is Eristalis of the family Syrphidae. See

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