Species: Gossamer Hoverfly (Baccha elongata)

Family: Hoverflies (SYRPHIDAE)

Category: Insects (Other)

Location: Widespread

A. Insects (Other)

More extensive information on insects can be found in a separate blog post.

B. Hoverflies (SYRPHIDAE)

True to their name, the hoverflies hover around flowers, and then alight to feed on nectar and pollen. They are very important pollinators, and despite the fact that some look like wasps or bees, this is just mimicry and helps to keep potential predators at bay. Hoverflies have no sting, and have short, drooping antennae. The larvae are as useful as the adults, in that they feed on aphids.

We have a photograph-filled blog post about all the hoverflies that we have seen in the Cemetery that may be worth your time.

C. Gossamer Hoverfly (Baccha elongata)

Baccha elongata is a small hoverfly, between 4 and 8 millimetres long, with a slender wasp-waisted shape. It is the only British hoverfly with this distinctive appearance (although a couple of others, having swollen thighs, might be mistaken for it).

Colloquially called the Gossamer Hoverfly for its delicate shape, this insect likes dappled woodland and hedgerows. It frequents the lower regions of denser vegetation, where it can usually avoid attention - which explains why it is difficult to photograph. Its larvae are predators of ground-layer aphids.

Images

Gossamer Hoverfly

Baccha elongata is a small hoverfly, between 4 and 8 millimetres long, with a slender wasp-waisted shape.

This individual - a female with its eyes further apart than males have them - could be mistaken for a sawfly or for an ichneumon wasp, although its eyes and antennae lead one to establishing that it is a hoverfly.

This (out of focus) photograph shows its right wing in a folded position, more likely to be a temporary posture than a sign of damage.