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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

09 November, 2015

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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