Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hover Fly Pollinating Euphorbia in Vernegues, France

Hover fly pollinating the ever-present Euphorbia in Vernegues.  When trying to ID this little critter, I went back and forth between fly imitating a bee, a real bee, a bumblebee and a wasp.  Finally, a plea and a subsequent tip on Facebook led to an ID as hover fly.  Hover flies are true flies but are typically nectar feeders (and significant as pollinators for some plant species) while their larvae often feed on aphids and other plant pests.  Many are wasp and bee mimics, as is this species, Chrysotoxum cautum.  They can be distinguished by their large (fly-like) eyes and the single set of wings.  In any case, the contrast was too striking to pass up so I snapped the picture while keeping a slightly wary distance.  (A clear case of what doesn't sting you makes you stronger...(just joking here...)). 

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