Sphaerophoria scripta

Sphaerophoria scripta (Linnaeus, 1758)

Biology & ecology:

The larva, which overwinters, feeds on aphids and other soft-bodied Homoptera in the ground layer including various crop-aphids. It is found in open grassland, woodland edges, hedgerows, urban waste ground and gardens and, according to Speight(2010), tends to be coastal towards the northern edge of its European range and distinctly anthropogenic further south. Adults fly low down amongst, or just above, the vegetation and frequently visit flowers, especially Yarrow Achillea millefolium,, white umbels and yellow composites. However, many other flowers, including garden varieties, are utilised.

Distribution:

Very common and widespread in the lowlands of southern Britain, north to a line between the Humber and the Mersey. It is highly migratory and the more northerly records probably represent immigrants rather than residents.

Status & conservation:

Trends suggest an increase in occurrence until recently. This is the only member of the genus that is regularly reported by the broad spectrum of contributors to the HRS.

Recorded from 1225 hectads since 1990.