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Hoverfly - Meromacrus acutus - female

Hoverfly - Meromacrus acutus - Female
Parkwood, Durham County, North Carolina, USA
September 14, 2000
Found hovering around some flowers. Captured, chilled, posed, and released. I did not record the length, but it was pretty large, about 15 mm long or maybe more. A really neat mimic of a hymenopteran.

This fly appears to be the same as the "wasp-mimicking hover fly" in Castner, p. 147, fig. 545--photo. (1) Dr. Castner does not have the species identification for that particular image handy (personal communication).

Compare to another specimen, same location, same season, four years later:

Milesia sp.
I am quite sure this is a species of Milesia!
There seem to be three species in the Nearctic, so that shouldn't be to difficult!

A differing opinion
Dr. Stephen Taber of Saginaw State University believes these large, dark syrphids not to be Milesia, based on the latest reference on the genus: Hippa, H. 1990. The genus Milesia Latreille (Diptera, Syrphidae). Acta Zoologica Fennica 187: 1-226. I may move these up to family level.

If it's not a Milesia, could it be a closely-related genus?

ID TBA--PC. (Back to the drawing board--move up to Syrphidae?)

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

Milesia, thanks, I will investigate!
I had considered that, but there are only two species (I think!) in my area: M. virginiensis (familiar, several photos on BugGuide) and M. scutellata. I have seen photos of the latter species, and there is a key in Syrphidae of Oklahoma. Photos and key don't seem to match this photo, but perhaps I err in interpreation, or there is variability. Maybe this is a very dark form of M. virginiensis or M. scutellata.

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

On page 75 of INSECTS OF THE TEXAS LOST PINES there is a photo of Milesia scutellata. Due to the wording of the ID key that was used, or to my own error in using that key, I originally identified the specimen as M. virginiensis.
We need more keys with illustrations and none at all with mere words. Problems like this arise again and again, especially with the older literature.

S. W. Taber

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