Platycheirus ?

29 April 2006
At the top of The Drive, hoverflies were frequent.

There were two small species that have not yet been identified to genus level. The one in the photographs above are under identification investigation. I am beginning with the Platycheirus genus. It is a species very frequently seen. Note that the antennae are black in this small hoverfly. The scutellum is dark brown/black as well.

 The consensus is that it is Platycheirus albimanus. These identifications were made on the Diptera Forum.

I suppose the only other possibility is Platycheirus scutatus, but I would also opt for Platycheirus albimanus, as it is slightly thicker in the abdomen and the spots are at best bronzy rather than dull orange. Also I would guess that this specimen is not dusted on the frons, although it is a bit difficult to be sure. Time of year makes me lean a bit more towards Platycheirus albimanus than Platycheirus scutatus too.

I found it useful when teaching myself Platycheirus several years ago to draw up a grid with the species names across the top and a list of external features including colour of each antennae and leg segment and basic notes on habitat and flight period. I found this easier to use as a raw beginner than the keys initially, as I could draw in information as I acquired it, rather than get stuck on a key couplet.

Comments by Susan R Walter
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