Insects of Britain and Ireland: the genera of Syrphidae (hoverflies)

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Arctophila Schiner

Formerly Sericomyia p.p.

Adult flies. The flies crawling over flowers, bumblebee-like (cf. Bombus muscorum and B. pascuorum), or resembling a potter bee; black, covered with pale, brown to yellowish hairs; medium sized to large; 13.5–15.8 mm long. Wings 10–13.5 mm long.

The head wider than the thorax to about the same width as the thorax. The eyes not rimmed along their facial borders for much of the height of the face. Antennae relatively short, drooping; pale red. The third antennal segment ovoid or orbicular. The antennal bristle dorsal; much longer than the third segment; plumose.

The humeri hairy, and readily visible behind the head. The thorax shaggy with soft hair. Wings patterned (slightly grey, tinged tawny basally and with a large brown spot beneath the mid-costa); divergent in repose. Wing veins R2+3 and R4+5 not forming a closed cell. The anterior cross vein R-M in cell R5 crossing it before the middle of the adjoining discal cell. Vein R4+5 without a conspicuous curve projecting into the cell R5. The lower outer marginal vein more or less parallel with the posterior wing margin. The upper and lower outer marginal cross veins slightly stepped. The upper outer marginal cross-vein gently curved to conspicuously bent near the base the base; not re-entrant. The alula distinct.

The abdomen wider than the thorax; broadly oval. The male abdomen with 4 visible segments. The abdomen not contrastingly patterned (covered in the British representative with brownish to yellowish hairs). The spiracles of the third abdominal segment borne at or near the anterior corner of each side.

Larvae and pupae. The larvae yet to be described, presumably detectably segmented; presumably tailed (?). The larvae semi-aquatic, or non-aquatic (?); probably saprophagous.

Classification. Subfamily Milesiinae; tribe Sericomyiini.

British representation. 1 species in Britain (A. superbiens).

Illustrations. • Arctopila superbiens (male): Verrall.


To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: the genera of Syrphidae (hoverflies). Version: 28th July 2015. delta-intkey.com’.

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