The Pellucid Hover Fly

A couple of days ago I posted a picture of a Pellucid Hover Fly (above) without properly identifying it. So just to set the record straight and while I am having my coffee and making my plans, this is a Pellucid Hover Fly.

Pellucid HoverflyThis one is a female, it is the same with all Hover Flies, the female’s eyes are spaced apart and the male’s eyes meet in the middle.

The Pellucid is one of the UK’s largest flies and quite easy to identify. It has a large white band through the middle of the abdomen and dark spots on it’s wings, also a very pretty face.

Pellucid HoverflyThe colouration is supposed to mimic a bee or wasp, that may serve to deter attacks from birds but there is another reason behind it.

The female is an intrepid beast. She enters the nest of wasps (Common and German) and lays her eggs in their nests. The larvae feed on the debris at the bottom of the nest. Despite the fact that she doesn’t look much like a wasp she is allowed to do this without being attacked even though Wasp’s nests are otherwise pretty well guarded places. This may be a symbiotic relationship as the larvae clean the nest and remove (eat) dead Wasps and their larvae and they also eat other insects that they find in the nest.

When they are ready to pupate the larvae leave the nest and pupate underground and adult flies emerge sometime around June.

Volucella pellucensMost Hover Flies look a bit like Bees or Wasps and that must help to prevent attack but they don’t sting. The big difference between a Hover Fly and the Bees and Wasps is that Hover Flies only have two wings. They belong to the order Diptera (The True Flies) and Diptera literally means “two wings”.

All insects have four wings but in the Diptera the hind wings are tiny and are not used for flying.

Volucella pellucensso that is the beautiful female Pellucid Hover Fly, Volucella pellucens.

Pellucid Hover FlyHere is the male of the species.

Pellucid Hover Fly

Pellucid Hover FlyNow while you were reading that I have had a chat with Fizz and we have decided to give the Butterflies a rest for today and go up to the woods in search of a particular fungus that I feel quite confident of finding and of course we shall play ball in the fields on the way. So we shall see you later.

Have a nice Tuesday.

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