Sunday 24 June 2012: The hoverfly Eristalis tenax on an ox-eye daisy
This has been a good week for photographing ox-eye daisies which are at their flowering peak here at present. Today, I was working in the garden and spotted that hoverflies were very actively feeding on the ox-eye daisies. I managed to capture this close-up with my phone camera (my phone camera!) and I'm pretty pleased with the result. I am fairly sure that the hoverfly is Eristalis tenax, with the common name of the drone fly, on account of its possible mimicry of the male or drone honey bee. This evolved 'disguise' possibly affords it some protection from predators. Although hoverflies are the gardener's friend, pollinating plants as they feed on flower nectar (as you can see this one doing with its tongue or proboscis), the larval stage is spent as a 'rat-tailed maggot', living in stagnant water, feeding on rotting organic material. I bet they can't WAIT to grow up, gaining, as they will, wings and flowers!