Butterflies, cucumber beetles, the occasional dragonfly, and various species of native bees still roam our fields and marshes, accompanied by a few industrious spiders and entirely too many mosquitoes.
What seem to have disappeared in recent weeks are the syrphid flies (Syrphidae, spp.). Also known as hover flies or flower flies, the tiny, fast-flying creatures often are found feeding on the nectar and pollen of flowers. Unlike many insects we commonly call flies, the hoverfly belongs to the order Diptera, or true flies; the name ‘Diptera’ refers to the fact that they possess only two wings.
I’m quite fond of syrphid flies, so it delighted me to find this one hovering away on Christmas day, enjoying the gift of a vibrant and pollen-rich firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella).