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Common Oblique Syrphid Fly (Allograpta obliqua)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Common Oblique Syrphid Fly

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Small, banded, and quiet, the Common Oblique Syrphid Fly comes and goes, visiting flowers just like the bees it mimics.

Updated: 11/07/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The oblique, or angled, yellow dashes at the tip of the Common Oblique Syrphid Fly help separate this species from others. Large, round, red eyes and short antennae are fast indicators that this insect is not actually a bee. The yellow and black banding and hovering flight capability can fool most, but a quick check helps remove the fear of being stung. Like other bee mimics in the Fly family, this fly has a long, flat abdomen that sometimes bends downward. Females have an abdomen that tapers to a point while males are more squared off at the tip. Both have the signature markings of two rows of oblique yellow dashes on the outer edges and two vertical yellow dashes between them.

Adults visit flowers and females lay fertilized eggs on or near areas where aphids are present. Aphids are tiny insects that pierce plant parts and drink its juices. They reproduce quickly, so aphids are considered a pest. Fortunately, the larvae of the Common Oblique Syrphid are voracious eaters of aphids. Within a week of being laid, the fly eggs hatch and the small, worm-like maggots get to work, feeding on aphids sharing the same plant. This species is found in all three countries of North America and should be a welcome guest in any flower or vegetable garden.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Diptera
        Family: Syrphidae
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          Genus: Allograpta
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            Species: obliqua

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Allograpta obliqua
Other Name(s): Common Oblique Hoverfly
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 9mm (0.23" to 0.35")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: yellow, black
Descriptors: bee, hover, buzz, stripes, bands, flat abdomen, flattened tail, bent, flying

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 6mm (0.2in) and 9mm (0.4in)
Lo: 6mm
Md: 7.5mm
Hi: 9mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Common Oblique Syrphid Fly may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Common Oblique Syrphid Fly. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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