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UK Nature  > Hoverflies  > Merodon equestris

  • Female of var. equestris
  • M.equestris var.narcissi

Scientific Name:   Merodon equestris
Common Name:   Narcissus Fly

Merodon equestris measures 10-15mm in length, and has black legs and a deep U-shaped bend in the third long vein of the wing. The hind femur has a prominent bulge on the underside of the apex. The plump body is clothed in grey, brown or black hairs, arranged in different patterns. The various forms of this hoverfly mimic different kinds of bumble bee.

Adults feed on nectar and pollen and fly March to August, commonly in May, when females bask on the withering leaves of daffodils and other bulbous plants. Eggs are laid on leaf bases and the resulting grubs tunnel into the bulb. Even if the bulbs are not destroyed, their flowering capacity is greatly reduced.

Found in woods, hedgerows, parks and gardens throughout the UK. Similar species: Eristalis intricarius has similar patterns, but its legs are partly pale. Volucella bombylans is also superficially similar, but has no U-shaped bend in the veins.
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