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For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
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Poppy visitor - Eupeodes volucris

Poppy visitor - Eupeodes volucris
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, Los Angeles County, California, USA
January 11, 2006
This poppy blossom is one of the very first that are blooming so far this year at the Reserve. I observed this flower fly (?) visiting the blossom in the early afternoon of a warm, sunny day with a mild northeast wind.

It was very persistent. As I moved my camera in for a close up shot, it would leave the blossom and hover a few inches away until I removed the camera and then it would quickly return to the blossom. It seemed to be spooked when the shadow of the camera covered it. We did this dance several times before I was able to position the camera so its shadow was not interfering.

I have done some internet searching of Syrphid flies and the closest match I found to this pattern was the Eupeodes luniger but even that species seems to have wider color bands, especially the aft bands, and its yellow band color appears to be more intense.

Moved from Eupeodes.

Eupeodes volucris.... female
Eupeodes volucris.... female

Some species of Eupeodes...
With such whitish, rather than yellow, color bands do exist, especially in your blessed region. A specimen from the Mojave Desert very similar, if not identical, to this one has been identified as Eupeodes sp. by Mr. Gerard Pennards.

Mojave Desert
I believe you're referring to this image:

I don't know how familiar you are with our geography, but the Antelope Valley is part of the Mojave Desert- there's a good chance both images were taken in the same place.

Moving to guide.
Seems there is some consensus, so moving to guide page for Eupeodes.