Band-eyed Drone Fly

Hoverflies are a group of flies that mimic bees and wasps. They tend to have yellow and black stripes. There are over 200 species of Hoverfly found in South Africa and some are hard to distinguish from actual bees. The name “Hover” Fly arises from their ability to hover very precisely. Fortunately, these are only mimics of bees and wasps, and they cannot sting you. Worldwide there are around 6,000 species of Hoverfly.

Band-eyed Drone Fly

As far as I can tell the species in the photo is a Band-eyed Drone Fly (Eristalinus taeniops). I love the black bars in its eyes! I wonder what its vision is like. As you can see in the photo it is a pretty good mimic of a Honeybee, besides the eyes.  It has a wingspan of around 20 mm. Interestingly it is attracted to white and yellow flowers. The adults feed off nectar. The larvae of the Band-eyed Drone Fly are referred to as rat-tailed maggots. They can be found in various unsavoury places such as animal carcasses, mud and water that contains pig manure.

It occurs in gardens and other habitats across South Africa with the exception of the drier western regions. Beyond our borders it is has a widespread distribution stretching across much of Africa and Europe and parts of Asia.

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