Species of the month

Species of the Month: Hoverflies

Hoverfly © Ross Hoddinott/ 2020VISION

Help us with our wildlife surveys

Our Species of the Month species surveys are an important way you can help us.  Records are sent to DERC (Dorset Environmental Records Centre) who collate this information to build up a picture of the of the state of Dorset's wildlife. So please help us help wildlife by filling in the form below. Thank you!

September Species of the Month: Hoverflies

Scientific Name: Syrphidae


Although often banded with bright orange or yellow, they are not related to bees and have no stinger. Unlike bees & wasps, which have 2 pairs of wings, hoverflies have only one pair of ‘true’ wings and are related to flies.  They can be identified as a hoverfly (if close enough!) by a ‘spurious’ wing vein.  This is a vein which has a free end, not attached to the wing edge or any other veins. 

Hoverfly © Ross Hoddinott/ 2020VISION

Hoverfly © Ross Hoddinott/ 2020VISION


The adults of many species feed mainly on nectar and pollen, while the larvae eat a wide range of foods including pests such as aphids.  A few larvae (rat-tailed maggots) can live in stagnant pools and breath air through a tube. 


Can be seen skilfully hovering by flowers when feeding and holding territory – hence their common name. 


Did you know?

  • Hoverflies are an excellent example of Batesian mimicry.  Their black and yellow warning colours mirror the physical features of other species which are avoided by predators.  There are 270 species of hoverfly in the UK! 

Where can they be found?

Hoverflies are widespread and can be found in a range of habitats. See if you can spot one at one of our reserves such as: 

Kingcombe Meadows Nature Reserve 

Fontmell Down Nature Reserve 

Budgens Meadow Nature Reserve 

Wildlife gardening tips

Hoverflies are generalist feeders, so plant a range of nectar rich flowers to attract them. 

Species of the Month sightings form

Your details will only be used by Dorset Wildlife Trust and we will never give your information to other organisations to use for their own purposes. You can change your communications preference at any time by contacting us on 01202 692033. When you have completed the form, please click the Send button.

Please tick to confirm you are happy for us to keep details of your sighting on our database. In filling in this form and providing us with your email address you are consenting to us contacting you about your sighting.
Where appropriate we would like to pass on the details of your sighting to the Dorset Environmental Records Centre in order for it to be of use in local and national conservation projects. Please tick if you are happy for us to do this.
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Blue tit © Stewart Canham