Sunday, 11 October 2015

Day 331 - Stupendous Staveley Sunfly

Sunfly (Helophilus pendulus)
Hey everyone today's Day 333 and I'm continuing a species theme from a couple of posts ago when I did the Marmalade Hoverfly, I found this one last weekend in a nice sunny spot at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Staveley Nature Reserve. It was the first one I've seen with this type of pattern and I didn't expect to see it so late in the year, but it was a very lovely day! This particular hoverfly was actually quite hard to tell apart from some others due to its markings. I did eventually find the correct species though (I hope!). The name of it is quite confusing. It's Helophilus pendulus. (Hello-Phil-Us Pen-Due-Lus).

So, here are the facts:

    Cleaning up after eating
  • This Hoverfly's name (for me at least) isn't very good. It's either that very complicated name or one that I'm not very keen on. The Footballer.
  • Despite their name, we shall press on with it's meaning. The reason it is called 'The Footballer' is because of the stripes that are seen on its thorax which are said to look like a footballers shirt.
  • One final thing on names, their is one other name that I have seen on the Internet. The Sunfly. This is because of its habit of frequenting sunny days. It's the name I will call it by.
  • They are seen from April all the way through to November and are quite common from June to August. They peak in July.
  • They are seen, like all Hoverflies that I have covered, most commonly in Wales and England.
It sat on this green leaf for a while and you can see how
brightly coloured it is!
  • They are still common in Scotland but definitely not as much. They have been sighted on the Isle of man and Ireland.
  • When I first saw the eggs on Wikipedia, I originally passed them off as teeth. They are laid parallel to each other and are shaped, and coloured, like teeth.
  • I also glimpsed at the larvae. I thought the looked identical to a nerve cell which I'm looking at in school.
  • They are classified as Marsh Hoverflies so, you guessed, they are found in Marshes. As well as some gardens.
  • As they live in marshes and not very nice water they are a species whose larvae are know as rat tailed maggots. They have a tube for a tail which they breathe through as there isn't much oxygen in the water they live in.
A bugs eye view!
  • It's wing length is between 8.5mm and 11.3mm. This means their wingspan will be between 1.5cm and 2cm. 

Here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,



  1. I love the footballer! My favourite hoverfly!

  2. Ah lovely little hoverfly, they're my favourites too, just like Simon! I thought they were tiger hoverflies when I first spotted them, which is why it's great having this community around to help ID them too. They're lovely insects and you got some amazing captures here Zach. - Tasha