Species details

Syritta pipiens (Linnaeus, 1758)


The larva is found, often in large numbers, in wet decaying organic matter including compost heaps, manure heaps, cow dung and silage, but not in pools and ponds. A ubiquitous species in lowland areas including anthropogenic habitats such as farmland, parks and gardens. Usually found flying low down amongst the vegetation or visiting flowers. It is very prominent at the end of the season when large numbers visit ivy flowers. Males patrol around flowers, manoeuvring slowly and with great agility, and engage in confrontations, where two males hover head to head, with one hovering backwards as the other approaches. It is not clear how the contest is decided, but one suddenly darts away whilst the other resumes patrolling.


One of the most widespread and abundant hoverflies throughout Britain.