I am becoming more and more fascinated by Hoverflies.
While gardening today, it appeared that two species were actively visiting a small patch of white flowering Creeping Betony (Stachys densiflora ‘Alba’).
The largest, with a body about one inch long, was beautifully patterned on its abdomen… black with with yellow dash-marks around the perimeter.
The second variety was somewhat smaller with a body approximately three-quarters inch in length. There were three of these individuals all with black and yellow stripes on the abdomen.
The larger variety behaved aggressively towards one in a group of three other smaller individuals. It would circle around the flowers, locate its target, ram into the smaller Hoverfly, and dart off. The larger Hoverfly would light on a leaf for a moment, as if resting, then the process would be repeated. This has been going on for the better part of the afternoon.
I’m wondering if this is part of a mating ritual, or perhaps a vie for territory. Do you know?
One thing I can say… if you have Hoverflies in your garden, that is a GOOD thing. There are thousands of species world-wide. Adult Hoverflies are pollinators, feeding on pollen and nectar. The larvae are also beneficial.; they are slug-like and eat aphids.
It’s interesting to learn that many hoverflies mimic the coloration and/or hairiness of social bees and wasps. This enables them to avoid attack by predators who regard them as potentially able to sting. This form of mimicry is termed Batesian mimicry.
These insects deserve recognition. Share what you know, please.
Science behind this post:
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