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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!

29 August, 2016

Hoverfly: Xylota sylvarum

Whilst sharing several anatomical features that enable them to be grouped together as a family, within the group hoverflies can be very diverse in appearance. They come in various colourations, sizes and shapes. Some appear to imitate bees, others wasps and others imitate noting at all! Telling some species appart requires taking a specimen for microscopic examination.
I have to say that this species, Xylota sylvarum, was unlike any other I have seen and at first it never occuered to me it was a hoverfly until rose from the log it was resting on, briefly hovered and then returned to its resting place. It was with the aid of a photograph that I was able to then identify it. It is quite a large species and looks a little like a bee without actually looking like a bee! 
It is a woodland species that does, indeed, rest on logs but it feeds on the flowers of white umbelifer flowers such as hogweed and hemlock water-dropwort. At its peak in June and July it is widespread across much of southern England.
Hoverfly: Xylota sylvarum