Another beneficiary of the wet weather

The hoverfly Arctophila superbiens whose larvae have been found in water-filled hoof prints aka micro ponds. (© Rob Wolton)

The hoverfly Arctophila superbiens whose larvae have been found in water-filled hoof prints aka micro ponds. (© Rob Wolton)

Most people hate flies, or at least struggle a lot to like them.

But you shouldn’t dislike hoverflies which are both beautiful and remarkable.

So thanks to Rob Wolton who took this great photo of the hoverfly Arctophila superbiens – which is superbly like a furry bumble bee.

But most interesting: Rob thinks its been a good year for these animals around his Devon home where the larvae have been found in water-filled hoofprints along shady and muddy paths, a habitat which has probably been more than usually abundant this year.

The aquatic larvae of this hoverfly are known as rat-tailed maggots because of their long breathing-tube tails. I have another of these aquatic hoverflies in the garden pond – where the more waspy looking Helophilus pendulus is a common resident. It too has a rat-tailed larva.

I’m always struck by the supreme prejudice that manages, in just three words, to combine two of the most despised kinds of wildlife: rats and maggots.

Prizes will be awarded for anyone who can rename these little miracles of nature!

So if you’ve got a more rural garden, get some hoof prints around your pond, and this animal might be your reward.

The original picture can be seen at the excellent Locks Park Farm blog: have a look.

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2 Responses to “Another beneficiary of the wet weather”

  1. James Brooks Says:

    Some of the dipteran larvae could be called ‘snorkel-tails’, not strictly accurate but expressive, but that name might also suggest a water scorpion. ‘Snorkel’ appears in descriptions of both Nepa cinerea and Eristalis tenax in the Natural England / Plant Press website ‘Gardening with Wildlife in Mind':
    http://www.plantpress.com/wildlife/o152-waterscorpion.php and http://www.plantpress.com/wildlife/o382-dronefly.php
    Still, …

  2. Jeremy Biggs Says:

    Nice suggestion.
    J

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