narrow-headed marsh fly

(Helophilus fasciatus)

Conservation Status
narrow-headed marsh fly
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

not listed

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Narrow-headed marsh fly is a robust, medium-sized, to long hoverfly. It is somewhat bee-like in appearance.

The head is rounded in the front, not flattened. There is a shiny, orange, vertical stripe on the front on the face. There are two large compound eyes and three very small simple eyes (occelli). The compound eyes of the male, like the female, do not meet at the top of the head, and are narrowed abruptly at the top of the face. On the female the margin is straight. This gives the male a much narrower area between the compound eyes at the top of the head (vertex). The occelli are are arranged in a triangle on the vertex. On the female the vertex and upper part of the face (frons) are completely covered with short black hairs and are narrower than the width of the pair of tubercles that bear the antennae (antennal process). The antennae are short.

The thorax is brownish-black with four longitudinal stripes. The two middle (dorsal) stripes are white, whitish, or pale yellow.

The abdomen is brownish-black with lemon yellow horizontal stripes. The first stripe is incomplete, interrupted in the middle (dorsally). The others are usually complete but not always. The male has 3 yellow stripes. The female abdomen is longer and has 4 yellow stripes. The plate between the abdomen and thorax (scutellum) is large, convex, and more or less translucent.

The wings are relatively large. The second cell on the leading edge of each wing toward the tip (pterostigma) is relatively broad and tinted brown. It does not resemble a cross vein. The marginal cell (R1) is open.

The legs are mostly yellow with some dark brown or blackish-brown markings. The third segment of the hind leg (femur) is not spurred.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: to

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Broad-headed marsh fly (Helophilus latifrons) yellow abdominal stripes are broader. The male vertex is broad, not narrowed. The lower third if the female frons is covered with yellow hairs. The frons and vertex are wider than the antennal process. The legs are less extensively marked with black.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

 

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Late March to early October

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

 

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

Submerged plant litter in ponds, mud, manure, and silage.

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 24, 27, 29, 30, 82.

 
  9/17/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Abundant

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Diptera (flies)  
 

Suborder

Brachycera (circular-seamed flies, muscoid flies, short-horned flies)  
 

Infraorder

Muscomorpha (=Cyclorrhapha)  
  Zoosection Aschiza  
 

Superfamily

Syrphoidea  
 

Family

Syrphidae (hover flies)  
 

Subfamily

Eristalinae (drone flies and kin)  
 

Tribe

Eristalini (rat-tail maggot flies)  
  Subtribe Helophiliina  
 

Genus

Helophilus (marsh flies)  
  Subgenus Helophilus  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Eristalis decisus

Helophilus appensus

Helophilus similis

Helophilus susurrans

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

narrow-headed marsh fly

narrow-headed sun fly

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Antennal process

In Diptera, the antenniferous tubercles.

 

Antenniferous tubercle

In Aphididae and Syrphidae, one of a pair of tubercles bearing the antenna. In Hemiptera, tubercles close to the base of the antennae.

 

Femur

On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.

 

Frons

The upper part of an insect’s face, roughly corresponding to the forehead.

 

Ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

Pterostigma

The dark, blood-filled second cell at the leading edge of each wing toward the tip on many insects. It is heaver than adjacent, similar sized areas and is thought to dampen wing vibrations and signal mates. (= stigma. More precise than stigma but less often used, even by entomologists.)

 

Scutellum

The exoskeletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects. In Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Homoptera, the dorsal, often triangular plate behind the pronotum and between the bases of the front wings. In Diptera, the exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and the thorax.

 

Vertex

The upper surface of an insect’s head.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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KatyMN12

 
    narrow-headed marsh fly      
 

Luciearl

 
 

Bee on aster

 
    narrow-headed marsh fly      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

Male

 
    narrow-headed marsh fly   narrow-headed marsh fly  
           
    narrow-headed marsh fly   narrow-headed marsh fly  
           
    narrow-headed marsh fly   narrow-headed marsh fly  
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Heliophilus fasciatus
Allen Chartier
  Heliophilus fasciatus  
     

 

slideshow

       
 
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Other Videos
 
  Mosca/abeja (Helophilus fasciatus)
Eulalia Rubio
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 29, 2012

Orden Diptera (moscas)
Familia Syrphidae (moscas syrphid)
Género Helophilus
Especies fasciatus (Helophilus fasciatus)

Helophilus fasciatus es una especie de mosca que imita a las abejas o avispas, tanto en coloración como en comportamiento. Se alimentan sólo con polen y néctar. Estaba sobre una planta de lantana en los Jardines del Río Turia, Valencia.

Feeding only on pollen and nectar, Helophilus fasciatus is a species of hover fly that mimics bees or wasps in both coloration and behavior.

 
  Hover Fly (Syrphidae: Helophilus fasciatus) Grooming
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Apr 21, 2010

Warmed by the late afternoon sun, this hover fly gives itself a thorough grooming. Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (20 April 2010). Thank you to Bastiann for the identification (@Syrphidae.com)!

 
  Syrphid Fly - November 6, 2013
Don Gagnon
 
   
 
About

Published on Nov 6, 2013

Syrphid Fly (Helophilus fasciatus), Nectaring Sheffield Pink Chrysanthemum, Butterfly Garden, Gagnon Wildlife Habitat, Pottersville, Somerset, Massachusetts, Wednesday afternoon, November 6, 2013, 1:17 PM - Canon PowerShot SX50 HS MVI_56062; 33 min.

 
  Hover Fly (Syrphidae: Helophilus fasciatus) Female Ovipositing
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 25, 2010

Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (25 July 2010).

 
  Hover Fly (Syrphidae: Helophilus fasciatus) Grooming
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Apr 25, 2010

Showing an oblique view of a Syrphid fly grooming. Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (24 April 2010). Thank you to Bastiann for the identification (@Syrphidae.com)!

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

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  KatyMN12
9/14/2020

Location: Lake Elmo Park Reserve

narrow-headed marsh fly  
  Luciearl
9/6/2020

Location: Cass County

Bee on aster

narrow-headed marsh fly  
  Jude Marion
9/13/2018

Location: Coon rapids, MN

   
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

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Created 8/27/2015

Last Updated:

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