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Syrphid Fly, Sphaerophoria sp - Sphaerophoria pyrrhina - female

Syrphid Fly, Sphaerophoria sp - Sphaerophoria pyrrhina - Female
Los Gatos, Oka Percolation Ponds, Santa Clara County, California, USA
October 8, 2007
Size: 12 mm
This is one of our common syrphids, seen here on an Epilobium sp (Fireweed). I believe it may pollinate a number of our weeds, especially the Brassicaceae as it is common in the Black Mustard patches around SF Bay.

Moved from Sphaerophoria.

This looks to be Sphaerophori
This looks to be Sphaerophoria pyrrhina (one of the few species that can go to species with photos), the first one I've seen on BugGuide thus far. Abdominal patterns are distinctive and match Vockeroth 1992's illustrations; the only other species it could be is S. contigua, but that species has different abdominal patterns overall.

Oh, go for it, Kelsey.
You know it's S. pyrrhina now, don't you?

Yup! Trying to remember your
Yup! Trying to remember your gestalt principle and trying to rely on it more. You're a wise one!

Moved from Syrphini.

I agree
It looks like some kind of Sphaerophoria, but I don't know enough to be completely certain. It would be nice if we could add another species to the guide.
It is an adult female. It is a good idea to add all that info when available. I did it for you this time.

Amen, as to adding info.
I, for one, appreciate being able to roll over an image and know gender.

re adding gender info...
fine, good idea, but how would I know it's a female?

For the record, I try to add everything useful that I know about a bug when I submit its image. If I don't know its gender, I always mean to ask but sometimes forget to. Case in point: an expert has identified the gender here, but didn't say how she knew. Why not share that expertise so the rest of us can learn something?

This article may help sex id. You can also rely on expert info. Other than that, just don't worry about it. There are many cases in which there is no way to know the sex,

Assuming it's Sphaerophoria (and I do)...
You can get gender from body shape. Far end of abdomen on female is tapered, while the male's is knobbed.

Also, as with many, but certainly not all flies or even syrphids, male eyes are larger and touch at the top front. Female's eyes are separated, as here.

For insects in general, look at images of mating pairs and you can often sort through gender differences there. Some times, as with bee flies, this technique doesn't work well, since the most obvious gender difference is size, and that's hard to judge when flies are solo.

Maybe something
in Sphaerophoria genus. I'm not too familiar with these.

Looks like Jon nailed it again.
I haven't seen this particular pattern yet, but there are 16 different species here so it's likely we've missed some. Hopefully, someday we'll get expert ID to species.

BTW, nice photo, particularly the eye and the composition.

Minor update
Still thinking it's Sphaerophoria, I went through 500+ Googled images. Several S. scripta photos resembled this one, but not all that closely. However, there appears to be much variation in that species. (Perhaps that's due to bad IDs!) So, a possible lead, but nothing conclusive. Species ID on this genus hinges on having a male specimen in hand, so only mating females can be IDed to species. Thus far, no Bug Guide posts have been so identified.

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