Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sphaerophoria loewi

 I'm trying to post photos and video sequences of various hoverfly species as I come across them. This individual may not look as dynamic and colourful as the Volucella & Chrysotoxum species posted recently, but it's very special to me.

I took a detour yesterday morning whilst on the way to meet Carole in order to search for this species at a private site in Bedfordshire. I spent quite a bit of time sweeping the vegetation on the fringes of a pool...finally deciding that, unfortunately, it was far too windy (the sound file on the video gives you an idea of just how windy it was!). Following a final sweep on the way back I looked into the net and, to my surprise and joy, found the individual in the photos above.

It's a male Sphaerophoria loewi, a rare coastal hoverfly that is part of the only known inland breeding site which I was very fortunate in finding a few years ago when, amazingly, I came across a mating pair. Previously, it had only been recorded inland once before - at Aviemore, Scotland, in 1986! This video clip shows the hoverfly in a tube.

After a while I put the open tube between my legs, hoping that the hoverfly would crawl out onto my jeans and settle down....which is exactly what happened! I'm disappointed that I was a bit too ambitious and didn't realise that I was focusing a bit too close leading to some slight blurring of the image, but I've enjoyed watching it giving itself a good clean even so. The Sea Clubrush plant at this location seems to be the key factor that has led to the establishment of a breeding population. It's great to see that it's still around...I'm now looking out for it on the Isle of Wight!


  1. I think the blurring adds a nice effect to the video, Steve. He certainly had a thorough wash! It's incredible how they turn their heads upside down like that! Congrats on finding him. :)

  2. Thanks, Omi - I agree that the way they spin their heads right round is would be interesting to find out how they do it!

  3. Gosh it's a fastidious little thing! Great video.