|A 'typical' hoverfly showing yellow and black banding.|
|The common 'Marmalade Fly' Episyrphus balteatus feeding in a day-lily|
|A head-on view of E. balteatus. Note the eyes meet on the top of the head - this is often a clear indicator that the specimen is a male (and not just in this species); in females the eyes generally don't meet.|
|Myathropa florea showing the distinctive pale spots and bars on the otherwise dark thorax.|
|Scaeva pyrastri feeding on Buddleia davidii - note the white 'lunules' rather than yellow bands.|
|An oblique/side view of S. pyrastri showing the somewhat flattened abdomen.|
|Syritta pipiens showing the distinctively swollen and toothed hind femur.|
As well as wasp-like mimicry, a number of species mimic bees, including the 'drone-flies' of the genus Eristalis which mimic honey bees (Apis mellifera).
|Eristalis arbustorum (note the golden pubescence) on a dried-out dock (Rumex) plant.|
Other species can be very different again. Many hoverflies are small and dark (such as Cheilosia), while some are bumblebee mimics such as Volucella bombylans and Eriozona syrphoides which is likely to be a fairly recent (1950s) colonist associated with spruce.
|Merodon equestris, a mimic of hairy bee species with very variable colouration from almost all black to extensively brown and/or pale.|
|Rhingia campestris showing the long 'snout' in side view - a characteristic of this genus.|
Of cours, it's not all about the flowers - hoverflies need to make sure there are plenty of their kind around next year. So, I shall leave you with a couple of pics of them doing exactly this. Feel the love!
|A pair of Helophilus (probably H. pendulus).|
|A pair of Sphaerophoria scripta trying the back-to-back position. The female's on the right.|
ReferenceStubbs, A.E. & Falk, S.J. (2002). British Hoverflies. BENHS, Reading.
Further reading (if you want to know about the larvae)
Rotheray, G.E. (1993). Colour Guide to Hoverfly Larvae (Diptera, Syrphidae). Derek Whiteley, Sheffield.