Saturday, 28 June 2014

Narcissus Fly Meredon equestris

Well this one fooled me (not hard these days), I thought it was a bumblebee, it's not, it is a bumblebee mimic and quite a good mimic at that. It is a type of hoverfly Narcissus Fly Meredon equestris. Hoverflies are an interesting insect that we probably take for granted and ignore, but close inspection reveals an interesting group. There are 276 species of Hoverfly in the UK.

Many are colourful, some are frankly stunning but all of them are interesting because they use imitation as a strategy to escape predation. Not only are they attractive in the garden, in the main they are useful both as pollinators and predators in their own right. In common with other flies, they have 3 stages of development, egg, larva and adult. It is as  larva  that they are usually most beneficial to gardeners because at this stage they eat mainly greenfly and other aphids. Hoverflies need to be encouraged and their presence in the garden is a sure indication of a healthy environment. There are very few exceptions to this rule and this week the Narcissus Fly (Meredon equestris) was on the wing in my garden, feeding on pollen from the new summer blooms. The Narcissus Fly gets it's name from the annoying habitat of damaging daffodil and tulip bulbs  as a larva, foraging underground on the bulbs of these plants.  This Hoverfly is a Bumble Bee imitator an could easily be confused as such. But have no fear, all Hoverflies are harmless to humans and carry no sting, nor do they bite