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  • Flower Fly - (Toxomerus marginatus)

    Flower Fly - (Toxomerus marginatus)

    Flower Flies in the Toxomerus genus look like wasps, giving them a bit of peace while they scour plants for aphids and other plant pests.

    Picture of Flower Fly
    Staff Writer (8/4/2017): Seeing this Flower Fly in the garden is a win. Not only is it harmless to people, it helps clear vegetable and fruit plants of insects that drain and damage them. They are keen mimics of wasps with similar colors and banding on the abdomen, but a look at the eyes and antennae reveal what they really are. In this species, female eyes are separated (see photo), while male eyes are smashed right next to each other (holoptic).

    Active from spring through autumn, females lay fertilized eggs on plants and the larvae feed on aphids, small caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects they encounter. Larvae look like green worms with a yellowish coloring down the middle and a thin dark line along the 'back'. They are well camouflaged for the green foliage they live on. So efficient and hungry are these larvae that they may completely eliminate a population of aphids off of a plant by harvest time. Adults drink nectar and may be seen visiting flowers.

    References: University of California-Davis Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (publication #8285); Field Guide to Insects of North America by Kaufman

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    Details of the:
    Flower Fly

    Category: Fly or Mosquito
    Common name: Flower Fly
    Scientific Name: Toxomerus marginatus

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Diptera
          Family: Syrphidae
           Genus: Toxomerus
            Species: marginatus

    Size (Adult, Length): 5mm to 6mm (0.20in to 0.24in)

    Identifying Colors: yellow, black, orange

    Additional Descriptors: metallic, stripe, band, diamond, wasp, bee, flying, helpful

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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