Hoverfly: Meliscaeva cinctella

Whilst a few hoverflies are readily identifiable many are, for one reason or another, very difficult. Despite being armed with a good field guide such as "Britain's Hoverflies" written by two national experts, Stuart Ball and Roger Morris, it remains a significant challenge. Even a photograph cannot help sometimes! Help is at hand, however, in the form of the Open University's iSpot website where experts from across the country keep an eye on photographs submitted and, quite often, they are able to name the species.

So it was with this little hoverfly. After thumbing through the book several times I had absolutely no idea what it was so I put it on iSpot and in no time at all I had the answer, Meliscaeva cinctella.  Armed with this knowledge I was able to go back the book and match my photograph to the image and text there; it is how I learn new things.
For the record Meliscaeva cinctella is a woodland species (I saw this one in woodland) that frequents woodland flowers such as bramble and umbellifers in mid summer, especially August which is when I found this one. It is a common and widespread species across the whole of the country. Its markings are unique but

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