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Flower Fly - T. marginatus (Toxomerus marginatus)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Flower Fly - T. marginatus

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Flower Flies in the Toxomerus genus look like tiny wasps, but these flies are interested in plant pests, not people.

Updated: 09/27/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Seeing this Flower Fly in the garden is always 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 their eyes and antennae reveal what they really are. In this species, female eyes are separated (see photo), while male eyes are right next to each other (holoptic). They are much smaller than bees, but they are able to hover like them. Flower flies are often seen doing just that over plants loaded with blossoms.

Active from spring through autumn, females lay fertilized eggs on plants. These hatch into larvae that are adept at eating other creatures that are detrimental to a plant's health like aphids, small caterpillars, and other soft-bodied insects. Larvae look like green worms with a yellowish coloring down the center 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. ©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Helpful insect icon
Shiny 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: Toxomerus
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            Species: marginatus

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Toxomerus marginatus
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 5mm to 6mm (0.19" to 0.23")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: yellow; black; orange
Descriptors: metallic; stripe; band; diamond; wasp; bee; flying; helpful

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 5mm (0.2in) and 6mm (0.2in)
Lo: 5mm
Md: 5.5mm
Hi: 6mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Flower Fly - T. marginatus 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 Flower Fly - T. marginatus. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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