Cheilosia proxima (Zetterstedt, 1843)
Includes Cheilosia species D & E of Stubbs and Falk (1983).
Biology & ecology:
The larva inhabits the roots of thistles Cirsium sp., especially Marsh Thistle Cirsium palustre. Adults are frequently found visiting white umbels such as Hogweed Heracleum sphondylium and flowering bushes such as Hawthorn Crataegus and Blackthorn Prunus spinosa, along woodland rides and edges (deciduous and coniferous), scrub and hedgerows. Males tend to hover quite high up near trees and bushes and both sexes frequently settle on sun-lit foliage at some height above the ground.
A widespread and common species north to Yorkshire and Cumbria, becoming scarcer further north, although records extend into northern Scotland. The segregation into species D and E by Stubbs & Falk (1983) has been found, on further investigation, to represent the spring and summer generations of a single species.
Status & conservation:
There has been some increase in occurrence over the past 25 years, especially in upland areas. This is a surprise, given the tendency of modern recorders to avoid the Cheilosini. Recorded from 794 hectads since 1985.