Episyrphus balteatus (Marmelade Fly / Marmelad Sineği) from Bornova, İzmir - 21.12.2009.
Hover-flies (family Syrphidae, Order: Diptera) is a family of approx. 5,000 spwecies, with hovering and darting flight. Body shape very variable, but all have a false margine formed by veins running more or less parallel to hind margin of wing. There is also a false vein near the centre- simply a thickening of the wing membrane and unconnected to any real vein. Vein pattern important in identification. Antennae generally shoert and drooping. All are nectar-feeders, especiallky fond of umbelifers. Many mimic bees and wasps. The larvae live in a wide variety of habitats and include predators, vegetarians, and scavengers.
Episyrphus balteatus is a relatively small hoverfly (9-12 mm) of the Syrphidae family, widespread throughout all continents. Like most other hoverflies it mimics a much more dangerous insect, the solitary wasp, though it is a quite harmless species. Thought the venation is like Syrphus species, it is easily identified by additional narrow black bands on 3rd and 4th abdominal segments. It is seen between the months of March and November (may bee all year in Southern Europe). The upper side of the abdomen is patterned with orange and black bands. A further identificationfeature is the presence of faint greyish longitudinal stripes on the thorax.
The Marmelade Fly can be found throughout the year in various habitats, including urban gardens, visiting flowers for pollen and nectar. Often form dense migratory swarms, which may cause panic among people for its resemblance to wasps. It is among the very few species of flies capable of crushing pollen grains and feed on them. The larva is terrestrial and feeds on aphids.
Like in most other hoverflies, males can be easily identified by their holoptic eyes, i.e., left and right compound eyes touching at the top of the head.
References: 1. Chinery, M. (1986). Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe, Collins, Glasgow, 320 pp. 2. Wikipedia.