Hoverflies of Adur 



Link to the Hoverflies of 2006


25 October 2005

This small hoverfly was seen at the top of McIntyres Field, east of Lancing Clump. Platycheirus ?

The only other hoverfly seen was a 50% larger Marmalade Fly Episyrphus balteatus.

9 October 2005
Frequent Drone Flies, Eristalis, Marmalade Flies Episyrphus balteatus, and at least one Syrphus hoverfly were recorded on the Slonk Hill Cutting southern path on passage.
3 October 2005
This very small species was recorded in Buckingham Park, Shoreham. The photograph is simply not good enough for ID. 

 It could be a Melanostoma sp. (AH)

2 October 2005

The frequent hoverflies in Shoreham town and gardens were Drone Flies, Eristalis tenax, Marmalade Flies Episyrphus balteatus, and there was at least one Myathropa florea seen and photographed. The small hoverfly on the left is thought to be a species of Platycheirusof which there were several in a Shoreham garden. The photograph shows the abdomen patterns enhanced to show as clearly as possible for identification purposes. 

27 September 2005
I did not visit the Waterworks Road but passage through the Butterfly Copse frequent hoverflies (mostly Eristalis tenax but also Syrphus).
25 September 2005
At least two pairs of Drone Flies, Eristalis tenax, were seen courting in in a Shoreham garden and they buzzed off when disturbed.
22 September 2005
A handful of Drone Flies, Eristalis tenax, were seen in all shady places with vegetation and they were probably widespread and prevalent.

20 September 2005
A Syrphus hoverfly was recorded in the Butterfly Copse (next to the Waterworks Road).

18 September 2005
At least one Drone Fly, Eristalis tenax, on Slonk Hill Cutting south, dozens of Marmalade Flies Episyrphus balteatus, and in a Shoreham garden a Helophilus pendulus buzzed around the pond noisily.
This small hoverfly was photographed on the Slonk Hill Cutting Hawthorn on the southern side. This is guessed at Melanostoma scalare but there is not nearly enough detail in the photograph to be sure. It is a female and the genus is probably correct. 

13 September 2005
Hoverflies were less than expected at the lower end of the Pixie Path (route from the Waterworks Road to Mill Hill) by the Butterfly Copse. A handful of Drone Flies, Eristalis, flew around the Ivy.

1 September 2005
Another Volucella zonaria was seen in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road. There was a small Syrphus in the same copse.

30 August 2005
The hoverfly Helophilus pendulus buzzed (I did not actually hear it) around the brambles in the south-west corner of the Mill Hill Cutting by the Pixie Path.

25 August 2005
A Volucella zonaria hoverfly was photographed on Buddleia in my south Lancing garden, (TQ 186 044).

Report by Ray Hamblett on the Lancing Nature Gallery
15 August 2005
Passage by the Elm Corridor on New Monks Farm revealed two Volucella zonaria hoverflies and a further one at the Steyning Road entrance to the Maple Field Spinney by the Waterworks Road.
Volucella: Local List
A handful of this  small species of hoverfly flitted around in Ray Hamblett's south Lancing garden. 

Syritta pipiens

Identification by 

Matt Smith on UK Hoverflies
14 August 2005

This hoverfly from the top of The Drive, Shoreham looks like a Syrphus. This species is frequently seen.

This ID is not confirmed.

9 August 2005
This hoverfly Volucella inanis was discovered in McIntyres Field, near Lancing Ring
The difference was noticed by Andy Horton  from the more usual Volucella zonaria.

This is the first confirmed record of this hoverfly on these Nature Notes pages. 

Photograph by Ray Hamblett
Report by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature

Subsequently, a specimen of Volucella inanis was identified from New Monks Farm seen on 
1 August 2005. This latter hoverfly was seen on the same umbellifer as Volucella zonaria.

8 August 2005
Another Volucella zonaria next to the Waterworks Road and this large hoverfly does not seem unusual any more, and along with the ubiquitous and very common (500+ in a day) Marmalade Fly Episyrphus balteatus, frequent Scaeva pyrastri, frequent Myathropa florea and occasional Erastalis tenax (the Drone Fly), means that hoverflies are numerous and most of them I pass unrecognised.

2 August 2005
The tall fragrant Fennel plant in my Lancing front garden is now a magnet to the neighbourhood hoverflies. There are around twenty hoverflies flitting around the flat umbelliforous flowers. Most of them are the ubiquitous Marmalade Fly Episyrphus balteatus, others including Scaeva are apparently taking the nectar from the flowers.

 Report by Ray Hamblett on Lancing Nature Notes
Lancing Hoverflies Database Records (by Ray Hamblett)

Another Volucella zonaria was seen in the scrub of the north-west of Mill Hill. Myathropa florea was widespread and frequent in the shadier places on the outskirts of Shoreham.

1 August 2005
In the damp shade of the Elm Corridor on New Monks Farm, flying insects included at least five species of hoverflies, including two of  the spectacular Volucella zonaria, the black and yellow Chrysotoxum bicinctum, the common Episyrphus balteatus, and other familiar species like Myathropa florea and the small Sphaerophoria scripta. A specimen of Volucella inanis was confirmed by a photograph (but not discovered until 17 August 2005). This hoverfly is appreciably smaller than Volucella zonaria.
Volucella zonaria Volucella zonaria Chrysotoxum bicinctum
Volucella zonaria
Volucella zonaria
Chrysotoxum bicinctum

The hoverfly Volucella inanis  visited my south Lancing garden.

Garden Report by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature)

22 July 2005
Scaeva pyrastri
Sphaerophoria scripta
Sphaerophoria scripta

The first and third images are from the Slonk Hill south bank, and the middle image is from the upper slopes of Mill Hill, just north of the Reservoir. The first hoverfly is Scaeva pyrastri and the others and mating pair are Sphaerophoria scripta.

Scaeva ID confirmed by David Iliff on UK Hoverflies

10 July 2005
Species of hoverfly were collectively common in the shadier bits of the Slonk Hill south spinney, about 80 Episyrphus balteatus and at least a dozen Myathropa florea and more than half a dozen of at least one other species.
Chrysotoxum bicinctum Chrysotoxum bicinctum                                                                            

9 July 2005
A sighting of the large and spectacular hoverfly Volucella zonaria over New Monks Farm, Lancing, was the first of the year.

8 July 2005
Myathropa florea were frequent (20+) on the shadier bits of the Slonk Hill south spinney and present everywhere shady, but not as numerous as the common (100+) Episyrphus balteatus.
8 July 2005

Hoverfly on Ragwort

This looks to me more like a mimic of a bumblebee than a bee because of the short antennae and hoverfly-like face.
Merodon equestris var. equestris 
It was only the size of a Carder Bee. 

Slonk Hill Cutting, south bank


Merodon equestris var equestris.
Volucella pellucens (Photograph by Ray Hamblett) 7 July 2005

Volucella pellucens
Photograph by Ray Hamblett

McIntyres Field east of Lancing Ring

Lancing Flies (Diptera) Gallery (by Ray Hamblett)

7 July 2005

This hoverfly was photographed on Stinging Nettles in the in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road and was completely forgotten at the time and the image only discovered on 31 October 2005.

The hoverfly was not immediately identified. It looks like a Volucella pellucens. The variation in the colour, compared to the above specimen, could be a temperature difference in larval status.

ID confirmed and comment by Bastiaan Wakkie on UK Hoverflies

6 July 2005
Hoverflies included the species Helophilus pendulus (pic) on and around the Stinging Nettles on the Waterworks Road and the bumblebee mimic Volucella bombylans var. plumata was instantly spotted at the western entrance to the Field Maple spinney.

2 July 2005
One yellow and black hoverfly (it behaved like a hoverfly) in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road was unfamiliar but it flew away before it could be photographed. Another hoverfly was Volucella inflata which I have only just been able to recognise.
29 June 2005

Myathropa florea
Butterfly Copse (TQ 209 063) near the  Waterworks Road

20 June 2005
A distinctive hoverfly, the bumblebee mimic Volucella bombylans var. plumata was instantly spotted at the western entrance to the Field Maple spinney (hereafter called the Maple Spinney) footpath between the Waterworks Road and the Steyning Road. This hoverfly seems to be frequently seen (over 12 records, probably more like 50) in June.

17 June 2005
Hoverflies on the Slonk Hill southern bank included one Volucella bombylans var. plumata. This species is a bumblebee mimic. My garden in Corbyn Crescent hosted a Myathropa florea.
Hoverfly (Photograph by Ray Hamblett) This hoverfly was not recognised immediately. It is Volucella inflata

It was discovered at the top of McIntyre's Field, where there are rotting Beech logs, near Lancing Clump. This species is the first one recorded locally.

Report and Photograph by Ray Hamblett on Lancing Nature Notes

12 June 2004
Two of the usual hoverflies were on the A27 road bank at the top of The Drive in Shoreham: Myathropa florea distinguished by its appearance and behaviour, and a familiar one that has escaped precise identification. The hoverfly Merodon equestris settled in a Shoreham garden.
9 June 2004
This hoverfly Helophilus pendulus buzzes like a blow-fly and could be mistaken for a wasp so I doubt it is high on the general popularity stakes. However, it hovers like it should and returns to the same leaf repeatedly, so it is quite obliging for the photographer under the strong sun, as it hovered around my garden pond in Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham. 

7 June 2005
At the top of The Drive, Shoreham, Marmalade Flies, Episyrphus balteatus, and other hoverflies were noticed in numbers in excess of twenty on one bush.

27 May 2005
A handful of the pretty hoverfly Leucozona lucorum were seen in the shady area at the top of The Drive, Shoreham.
23 May 2005

This is another small garden species of hoverfly that visited the only Bulbous Buttercup in my front garden in a crowded industrial area of Shoreham. 

I think this is the prevalent Sphaerophoria species (S. scripta) but I have not double-checked for close species (which is an unlikely differentiation from a photograph).

22 May 2005

A small species that is frequent in a Shoreham garden. It would not settle and the poor quality photograph was taken of the hoverfly in flight. This one looks like Epistrophe eligans.


18 May 2005
At the Mash Barn Lane end of New Monks Farm, Lancing, the hoverfly Volucella bombylans var. plumata was seen.
7 May 2005
This hoverfly was recorded from Mash Barn Lane, Lancing, leading to New Monks Farm

Eupeodessp. - probably E. corollae

Eupeodes corollae (female) (=Metasyrphus)
Identification by Steven Falk (Senior Keeper of Natural History, Warwickshire Museum)
7 May 2005

The Hoverfly, Epistrophe eligans, was recorded from New Monks Farm (Lancing) but not identified correctly until much later. 

hoverfly Leucozona lucorum 6 May 2005

The common Alexanders on the southern part of Mill Hill attracted hoverflies. The photograph is the hoverfly Leucozona lucorum. There has been an explosion of this species in Holland and Belgium this year. This pretty little hoverfly is widespread and common in England. 

Myathropa florea and Erastalis tenax (the Drone Fly) were also hovering around the umbellifers. 

29 April 2005
The two following species are thought most likely to be hoverflies.
This fly is on a Green Alkanet flower Rhingia campestris (not showing the snout)

The first one was discovered on Green Alkanet at the southern end of the Waterworks Road. The upturned snout indicates a species of Rhingia although this protuberance (elongated face) would seem more suitable for feeding on the prevalent White Dead-nettle rather than the plant it was on.
Rhingia campestris for comparison (Link)

This suggestion was also made by Alan Hadley on the British Insects Yahoo Group
The Rhingia hoverflies have been identified as Rhingia campestris. This is the most frequently encountered of the two Rhingia. The larvae of this species breed in dung.
Identification by Stuart Ball on the UK Hoverflies Yahoo Group

Comparison photo of R. campestris and R. rostrata (Link to photographs by Nigel Jones)
The lateral margins of the tergites (dorsal segments) are edged black in R. campestris, this is clearly visible on the image posted. R. rostrata lacks this feature. Source.

The second smaller brown fly (above right photograph) was ubiquitous on wasteland like the Dovecote Bank.

27 April 2005
The very small Melanostoma scalare hoverflies were seen in the scrubby sheltered areas of north-west Mill Hill.
17 April 2005
There were more species of hoverflies noticed including a species of Eupeodes (=Metasyrphus) in a Shoreham garden.
This species is Eupeodes luniger (=Metasyrphus)

The outer points of the lunules stop well short of the margin (they reach the margin in Eupeodes corollae).

15-16 April 2005
Hoverflies were out on the wasteland on the edge of Shoreham town, especially on the Dovecote Bank: Eristalis pertinax, Erastalis tenax and a species of Syrphus were recognised, but there could have been other species.

The very small hoverfly on the left is from the Pixie Path.
It is a male Melanostoma scalare; very similar to some Platycheirus, but yellow antennae, front legs not expanded (they are in most male Platycheirus), and note the bright green halteres which this species often has.

Identification by David Iliff on UK Hoverflies

3 April 2005
The hoverflies and bees are out in the sunshine for the first time this year. There was a handful of Episyrphus balteatus and the first two photographed below:
This hoverfly looked like a bee mimic as well, but it was spotted hovering before it found this inelegant resting place in a Shoreham garden This insect photographed on a Dandelion at the top of The Drive, Shoreham looks familar, but it does not seem to have been photographed before.
Note the slender "waist" though. It was not seen hovering. This is a Mining Bee,  Andrena fucata
Earlier Mining Bee (Link)
Probably Eristalis sp. taken on 29 September 2004 for comparison purposes
Eristalis pertinax

ID confirmed by Leon Truscott

Notes on species


Adur Bees

Certainly not a hoverfly, it has two pairs of wings. I printed off a copy and used a magnifying glass, looked at the wing venation [using Willmer] 3 SM cells; BV straight; D1 rhomboid; SM2 < SM3; hairy, brownish; the rest difficult to see but heading for Andrena sp.   However, look at the abdominal segment nearest the "waist" - I don't have a completely sharp pic - but I think I can
see something protruding from between the segments at the left hand side?  What do you think? Considering that the lethargic bee I found on a dandelion flower [mine was identified by Stuart Roberts as Andrena chrysosceles] was parasitised by 3 x female Stylops, it looks v. similar to your bee.
Andrena shortlist

Comment by Maggie Frankum on the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society Yahoo Group

26 March 2005
The small hoverfly Meliscaeva auricollis was seen at St. James the Less churchyard, Lancing.
Photograph (Link)

Identification by David Iliff on UK Hoverflies
Hoverflies of Lancing Gallery (by Ray Hamblett)
Report by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature) on the Lancing Nature Picture Gallery

4 November 2004
On the footpath approach to Mill Hill from the Waterworks Road I was buzzed by a few hoverflies of two species. One of these nectar seeking insects was the Drone Fly (hoverfly) and the other smaller one was  still awaiting positive identification at the time of writing. It hovered and behaved like a hoverfly. It is the photograph above left.
This is a black colour form of the abundant Episyrphus balteatus.
Because the insect was so dark in the photograph above I accentuated the markings in Photoshop (image manipulation program). The first photograph is shown on the right of how it appeared in real life.

4 October 2004
On the footpath approach to Mill Hill from the Waterworks Road, at least three species of hoverflies including one Helophilus pendulus, a handful of Syrphus hoverflies (with a yellow face and a bright yellow abdomen when viewed from the side) shown in the photograph below, as well as Drone Flies, Eristalis, were attracted to the Ivy.

21 September 2004
There were two distinctive hoverflies on the ivy with bees, wasps and Drone Flies next (west side) to the footpath approach to Mill Hill from the Waterworks Road: the medium sized Helophilus pendulus which I had not recorded before, and the large colourful Volucella zonaria.

16 September 2004
The following hoverflies were photographed on the footpath approach to Mill Hill from the Waterworks Road:

The first two are the same species, probably Eristalis, and could be mistaken for bees. The one on the extreme right looks like Syrphus.
Hoverflies (Syrphidae), tribe Eristalini

9 September 2004
Erastalis tenax (the Drone Fly) is the female of this species of hoverfly seen in Ray Hamblett's south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044)
 ID confirmed by Steven Falk (Warwickshire Museum RINGS) on UK Hoverflies.
ID message by Steven Falk
Myathropa florea
Butterfly Copse (TQ 209 063) near 
Waterworks Road
As the shadow of the camera fell over the leaf, the hoverfly did a miniature circuit, it's that hoverfly on the leaf, and as the shutter lag missed the hoverfly again, it did another circuit and it's the hoverfly on that leaf again.
Epistrophe (poetical)

Eristalis pertinax (not this one)
General Notes (not referring to this specimen):
E. pertinax is a common and fairly easily recognised species, though it can be confused with the Drone Fly, E. tenax. The latter has a broader facial stripe between the eyes and little or no yellow on the legs - specifically the tibiae of the hind legs are dark in E. tenax whereas they are distinctly bicoloured in E. pertinax. Whereas the abdomen is tapering in E. pertinax, causing it to resemble a worker Honey Bee, the abdomen is more nearly cylindrical and "chunkier" in E. tenax, so it is more like the drone.
Source: Dr. Alan J. Silverside
Small hoverfly taken somewhere along the path 3 September 2004

This small hoverfly was photographed along the South Downs Coastal Link cyclepath

Dasysyrphys albostriatus 

31 August 2004
The large hoverfly Volucella zonaria was nectaring on Ivy near the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road.

30 July 2004
The Hoverfly, Episyrphus balteatus, is now common with over a hundred in a single Shoreham garden and these numbers are expected to be repeated everywhere locally.

25 July 2004
Female  Scaeva pyrastri
This one was so quick that I was not sure if it was a hoverfly at first as it appeared to look like and behave like a bee
Female  Scaeva pyrastri
25 July 2004
ID by David Iliff on UK Hoverflies
Shoreham garden
Sphaerophoria scripta
18 August 2004
Recorded on the footpath from The Street to the Waterworks Road at the top (The Street) end.
12 September 2004
A27 Road Bank
The hoverfly landed on a leaf very quickly and then flew off.  It is Erastalis tenax (the Drone Fly) remarkably mimicking? a Honey Bee.

Eupoedes ID Key

18 July 2004
As the sun struggled to come out, so did the flying insects including at least five species of hoverflies. Five of them were seen in a small patch of garden (amounting to a half a dozen flowers and shrubs) near Buckingham Park, Shoreham.

  Sphaerophoria scripta
Episyrphus balteatus
despite the wider abdomen
At the time of writing all the hoverflies have not been positively identified, but the following four were definites: the Marmalade Fly,  Episyrphus balteatus, Syrphus possibly vitripennis ?, Eupeodes possibly corollae, Volucella bombylans and at least one much smaller species. It appears that for positive identifications to species level some of these hoverflies need to be captured and examined under a powerful microscope. I may have to satisfy myself with just the name of the Genus.
Platycheirus albimanus
The photograph above is of the suspected smaller species which may be too small and the photograph (click on the image to enlarge) not distinct enough for positive identification. The wings in this species are nearly as long as its abdomen which is all black at the tail end.
This species is not Meliscaeva auricollis.
This identification has been corrected to Platycheirus albimanus by David Iliff on UK Hoverflies.
17 July 2004
The colourful species of hoverfly known as Helophilus pendulus appeared in my south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044), around the pond, on a thundery day.
Also, another pair of hoverflies seem to match other recent sightings of Eupeodes corollae. But according to experts it may be a little hasty to assume the identification to species level is correct. The genus Eupeodes is correct.

Another Image

Hoverflies of Lancing
Helophilus pendulus (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

Volucella zonaria  (Photograph by Andy Horton)
 30 July 2001
Hundreds of Hoverflies,Episyrphus balteatus, invade Lancing (TQ 186 045). With their maroon head a wasp-like abdomen it is easy to understand why they are christened the MarmaladeFly.
Hoverfly Report by Ray Hamblett
16 August 2001

A large nectar-feeding hoverfly settled on the Buddleia bush in a garden in West Way, Lancing, (TQ 198 042) that is near the marshy land between Shoreham Airport and Lancing. The species was not positively identified and this is always tricky as there are at least 250 species of hoverfly found in northern Europe. It was a large species at about 14 mm long. Bill Irwin identified this species as Volucella zonaria.
Report by Steve Barker
5 May 2003

The hoverfly Volucella bombylans var. plumata was discovered near the copse (TQ 211 075) on Mill Hill. This white-tailed hoverfly (pic) is a bumblebee mimic.

More Information


Hoverflies, Syridae, although they display warning coloration like wasps, are a true fly, with a single pair of wings, and a proboscis like a butterfly for feeding on nectar.
Comment by Steve Barker
21 June 2004
This hoverfly looks like a bumblebee mimic seen hovering around in the field next to the stream between the Steyning Road (A283) and the Waterworks (TQ 209 068) 

Volucella bombylans var. bombylans

14 July 2004
A hoverfly, Sphaerophoria scripta, settled on a Prickly Ox-Tongue on the Malthouse Meadows, Sompting.

14 July 2004
A hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus settled on a Prickly Ox-Tongue on the Malthouse Meadows, Sompting.

13 June 2004
Merodon equestris
Shoreham garden
ID  by Matt Smith

24 June 2004
Merodon equestris
Shoreham garden
ID confirmed by Leon Truscott

28 June 2004
Myathropa florea
Butterfly Copse (TQ 209 063) near 
Waterworks Road
This hoverfly was easily disturbed but returned to same leaf in under a minute
ID confirmed by Leon Truscott
Matt Smith on UK Hoverflies
 possibly vitripennis ?
15 July 2004
Mill Hill
Upper slopes, meadow north of the upper car park
Another image of this species
ID confirmed by Matt Smith to genus only
Detailed Images (by Alan Hadley)
Eupeodes (=Metasyrphus)
 corollae (Fabricius, 1794)

15 July 2004
Mill Hill
Road embankment, SE of the bridge
ID confirmed by Matt Smith to genus only
The white crescent-shaped markings turn yellow

30 July 2001
Hundreds of Hoverflies, Episyrphus balteatus, invade Lancing (TQ 186 045). With their maroon head a wasp-like abdomen it is easy to understand why they are christened the Marmalade Fly.
Similar large immigrations have been reported from Dorset, especially from Portland Bill.
Hoverfly Report by Ray Hamblett
"A couple of hundred came in through our conservatory. Most of them came in through the patio doors and buzzed against the ceiling, then died due to the heat. I hoovered up the dead four times during the day and one time actually counted 53 bodies on a 3 metre length of window cill."
Report by Peter Weaver
I have noticed a few hundreds around, but they are usually present and there seem to be many more this year.

UK Hoverflies Discussion Group

Hoverfly Recording Scheme

Hoverflies Comment
Hoverflies of the UK
Hoverflies (Syrphidae), tribe Volucellini
tribe Syrphini

The World of Syrphidae

Volucella zonaria

Diptera (Keith Edkins) thumbnails
Small Hoverflies (thumbnails)

More Hoverfly Thumbnails

Hoverflies of Lancing

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2004 Index pageLink to Adur Valley Nature Notes 2003Link to Adur Nature Notes 2005  Index page

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