Epistrophe grossulariae

Epistrophe grossulariae (Meigen, 1822)

Nomenclature:

Syrphus grossulariae Meigen in Coe (1953).

Similar species:

Easily confused with the common species of Syrphus which also have moustache-shaped, yellow bands on abdominal tergites 3 and 4. In Syrphus, these bands narrow towards the edges so that the yellow on the abdominal margin is much narrower than the band's maximum width. By contrast, in E. grossulariae, these bands do not narrow at their edges and may even widen slightly so that the rear edge of the band turns slightly backwards. In Syrphus, the thoracic dorsum is a dull bronzy green colour, whilst in E. grossulariae is is more orange and shiny.

Biology & ecology:

This species is mainly recorded from deciduous woodland. The larva is frequently found feeding on aphids on Sycamore, Acer pseudoplatanus, but may also prey on other arboreal aphid species. Adults are usually found visiting flowers, especially white umbels and Devil's-bit Scabious Succisa pratensis along woodland rides and edges, scrub and around mature hedgerows. Males hover in clearings, over tracks, etc.

Distribution:

Widespread throughout Britain, but less frequent in eastern England. This species remains on the wing until October. This is a readily recognised species once known, but may be confused with Syrphus species when these are abundant.

Status & conservation:

There has been a substantial decline in occurrence over the past 30 years.

Recorded from 1027 hectads since 1990.