The ‘Drone Fly’ is a large hoverfly that mimics honey bees.
The Drone Fly is a common and widespread hoverfly, being found on all continents with the exception of Antarctica.
It can be readily identified by the unique combination of three features (Ball & Morris, 2015). The eyes have vertical stripes of dark hairs, there is a broad, dark facial stripe, and the hind tibia is curved and thickened.
Males are highly territorial and will defend a territory throughout their lives, chasing off rivals and other insects.
The Drone Fly is a pollen eater and, along with other hoverflies, is an important pollinator. In the UK it is active between March and December, with numbers and activity peaking in high and late summer.
The Drone Fly has been subject to extensive research into it’s biology and ecology. For example a recent paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology has shown that they have a preference for yellow flowers with a UV bull’s-eye pattern.
The Brassy Long-Horn is a spectacular micro moth
The Brassy Long-horn Moth is one of the ‘long-horn’ micro moths so named because of their exuberantly long antennae (males only). In Nemophora metallica the male’s antennae are at least three times the length of the forewings.
The moth is a day flying moth of high summer, is restricted to southern England and is Nationally Scarce (B) meaning that it has only been recorded in 31 to 100 ten kilometre squares in Great Britain.
The larvae feed on Filed Scabious (Knautia arvensis), the flower shown in the photo above. The specimen above was found along with many others on Field Scabious growing on the West Kennet Long Barrow, a Neolithic burial mound near Avebury, Wiltshire.
Roeseliana roeselii or Metrioptera roeselii, also known as Roesel’s Bush-cricket
Roesel’s Bush-cricket is a relatively large and colourful bush-cricket distinguished from other similar species by the yellow-green markings along the side of the abdomen and matching markings along the entire edge of the pronotum. The specimen in the photograph is a female. She has a long ovipositor at the end of her abdomen which she uses to lay eggs in the stalks of plants.
Up until the early 20th century Roesel’s Bush-cricket was only found along the south coast of the UK, but it has been steadily expanding it’s range and is now found throughout southern and central England.
It typically occurs in damp meadows and ungrazed, undisturbed grasslands. It is omnivorous feeding on grasses, seeds and small insects.
It is almost entirely wingless, but occasionally winged, macropterous forms occur. The macropterous form is a dispersal phase and enables the species to spread more rapidly. The occurrence and environmental controls on the winged form of the species has been the subject of recent research.
A charismatic, migratory high summer hoverfly
Scaeva pyrastri is a relatively large hoverfly with distinctive comma-shaped markings on a black ground on its abdomen which give it its common name of the Pied Hoverfly. Although on the wing in the UK typically from about April to September, they are at their most numerous during high summer.
Ball and Morris (2105) state that it is a migratory species that arrives in Britain in highly variable numbers from year to year. It is widespread, but scarcer in the uplands.
The specimen shown above is a female as indicated by the widely-spaced eyes.