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South Hadley, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, USA
July 28, 2009
I am thinking Hoverfly, but not 100% sure.

ID help appreciated.

Thank you.

Moved from Syrphid Flies.

Moved from Flies.

Male hoverfly looks right. Nice image/specimen.
Do you have a view from above? A clear view of wing veins would confirm syrphid, plus seeing the pattern on abdomen could point to genus/species.

A belated Thanks! Ron.

My pleasure.
Nice shot; glad you got an ID. Note curved front legs. (I recently found out that's typical of this genus.) FYI, face shots are good to have on some syrphids, Copestylum in particular.

That's a Platycheirus, I can'
That's a Platycheirus, I can't tell what species though.

Good call, Andrew!
For future reference, what would you need to see to get one to species?

Hi Ron, Species level in
Hi Ron,

Species level in Platycheirus is tricky. Most of the time only males can be IDed, and even then you need a (very) good shot of the forelegs. Dorsal habitus always helps too, as you can narrow down possible species a lot just by colour/body shape.

A few of the common species are easy though: P. quadratus males have broadened mid tibia that are quite distinct (most Platycheirus have only broadened foretibia, if any). I think that this image is of a quadratus, but the midleg is at just enough of an angle that I can't be sure, so I would't risk putting an incorrect species tag on it, personally.

P. obscurus is very silvery, with a produced face covered in pruniose ripples. P. obscurus and P. confuscus can be tricky to tell apart fro a photo, but obscurus's face is more produced, with the oral margin extending beyond the tubercle, whereas confuscus usually ahs the tubercle extending beyond the oral margin.

Really though, with Platycheirus having a specimen is usually invaluable.

Incidentally, I'm actually just startig a master's with Stephen Marshal at Univesity of Guelph, working on a review of Platycheirus. I'l be publishing a photographic key to the Nearctic species within the new few years on The Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification, so hopefully that'll be really useful to anyone interested in Syrphidae!

I'm also going to be one of the authors on a genus level photo key to the Syrphidae of the Nearctic, and we're looking to publish that by next spring. We're designing the key specifically with picture and field identifications in mind, so it shouldbe really useful to anyone interested in Syrphidae photography.

Yay! Glad to have you here.
Great info above and the promise of more visual keys - especially for my favorites of favorites - syrphids - are most exciting. Andrew, when you have a chance, it'd be good to add some of the above personal info to your contributor's page.

As you probably know by now, this site has a lot of flies that haven't been IDed past genus. We've recently had some help with Copestylum, and I was happy to see that.

Hi Andrew
Although Ron asked, I'll say thanks for the detailed information. I look forward to seeing your work when the key is available.
As a photographer I appreciate , when I do upload to my site, being able to label this as a Platycheirus Syrphid. I'm not an entomologist so, while it would be nice to label as a P.quadratus, I'm very happy with the known information.
Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge! Good luck with your Master's project.

Thanks for the kind words to
Thanks for the kind words to both of you!

I'll be adding that info to my page, along with uploading some Syrphid photos I took, probably this weekend.

I saw the Copestylum IDs! they look good, although I'm definately not an expert in that genus... don't get much of a chance to see live ones, what with living in Ontario.

When I have time, I'll go though and try and put a genus/species name on as many syrphid pics as I can. Species level IDs are still challenging to do from picture alone for me though.

edit: Also, is there anything I shouldbe doing other then posting ID's in the comments? or is this fine? Sometimes there are mass IDs that can be done, (For example: we only have one species of Melanostoma in the Nearctic, so all the Melanostoma sp. can be moved to Melanostoma mellinum) so should I just make one comment somewhere in the Melanostoma pics about that?


Welcome aboard!
Delighted that you have joined Bugguide and thanks for all the help that you can give us. About Melanostoma, I can take care of it right away. In the future, you can add such comments for mass moves to the forums and one or another of the editors will take care of things.
When you make a comment in an individual picture, most times somebody who is subscribed to the page or the contributor himself moves it accordingly. However, in some cases, comments are not noticed for a very long time. Don't worry about it; we'll figure out something (such as roping you in as a volunteer editor, able to do such moves by yorself :)
Also, I'll probably add some of your words about Platycheirus to the info page.

Thank you, Andrew. I'll know next year to shoot one from above to see the wings.

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