Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats Specimen Records: 20040 Specimens with Sequences: 16930 Specimens with Barcodes: 14426 Species: 2207 Species With Barcodes: 1966 Public Records: 1655 Public Species: 523 Public BINs: 302
Syrphidae (Hover Flies, Flower Flies, Syrphid Flies, Drone Flies) These are small to medium-sized flies that can hover motionless in the air. They usually mimic bees or wasps, often with black and yellow stripes along the abdomen. The proboscis is short, therefore Syrphid flies tend to visit smaller flowers with short nectar tubes in sunny places. At larger flowers, some Syrphid flies feed on stray pollen, while other species are attracted to salty perspiration. These latter species are sometimes called "Sweat Bees," which is a misnomer. Depending on the species, the larvae feed on aphids and other insects, or they may scavenge for dead animal material in moist soil, or they may feed in water that is rich in organic decomposition. There are numerous species in this family. As a group, Syrphid flies are probably the most common and important pollinators of prairie wildflowers among the various families of flies.
This family of flies is found all over the world, and there are thousands of species. Nobody knows exactly how many species there are in Michigan or in the whole Great Lakes region, but it is probably more than 150.
Adult flies of many species in this family are mimics of bees or wasps. They are mostly black with yellow or orange stripes. A few others are brown, or metallic green or blue (these may also be mimics of bees). They have large eyes and short mouthparts formed into a tube with a sponge at the end. Their bodies may be slim or stout and are sometimes flattened top-to-bottom. Some species wag they abdomens up and down when they land. Like all flies they only have two wings, their hind wings are reduced (see More Information about True Flies for more).
Larvae are more variable. They are all legless and headless, but some aquatic species have long breathing tubes on their hind ends, some have tough skins, some look like little slugs. Color varies from white to brown to green.
Range length: 4.0 to 25.0 mm.
Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; bilateral symmetry