kcf32's picture

Callicera rufa (?) in Shropshire

Observed: 3rd May 2011 By: kcf32
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course completeShropshire Wildlife Trust
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Callicera 2011-05-03
Callicera 2011-05-03 1
Callicera 2011-05-03 1 2
Callicera 2011-05-03 1 2 3

Whilst with a walking group I spotted and photographed what I thought was a bee (Photo 1) on the trunk of a Scots Pine in the middle of a small clearing. It was not until later, looking at the photograph, that I realised it was a hoverfly and, from the shape of the anntennae, it was a Callicera. I returned to the site a week later and a similar fly was still in residence. I netted this fly and attempted to identify it. Unforftunately I was unable to get far as, following the key in Stubbs and Falk, it had mainly dark femora (ruling out C. rufa) and a short 2nd antennal segment ruling out the other two known British species! At this point I passed it on to our local recorder and expert who later identified it as probably C. rufa. (He is arranging for verification.) Unless others on iSpot know differently, this fly is only recorded in Scotland, so what is it doing in Shropshire?
I returned to the site a few days ago with the recorder and we found at least three males using the same tree and one nearby. Another colleague has since visited the site and found a female.
The recorder looked at similar habitat on a nearby hill a few miles away and also found this species of hoverfly - also with mainly dark femora.
So it looks as though, subject to verification, this Scottish hoverfly (in a dark femora variation) has found a niche in Shropshire.
Photographs 2 & 3 are on the specimen awaiting verification; photograph 4 is of one of the three seen on the later visit.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


David Gibbs's picture

have you

referred to Speight 1991? more info there including male genitalia illustrations which would sort it out. presumably the specimen is already dry, suggest humidify it and hinge out genitalia asap so that minimal damage done to this very important specimen.
C. rufa only European species associated with Pine so unless we have something introduced from America or the Far East (or undescribed species)it must be rufa, a brilliant record whatever it is!

kcf32's picture

Speight 1991


Thank you for your suggestion. I passed it on to our recorder who has my specimen, plus one of his own from the nearby site.

He has had a look at the genitalia and it is an excellent match for C rufa. He is now confident it is C. rufa; but to make sure he proposes to send the specimens to Mr Speight for his opinion.


kcf32's picture

Speight 1991

Thank you for your advice. I do not have the specimen at the moment. It is with our recorder who is in touch with Mr Speight. But I will pass on your suggestion on to him.


Martin Harvey's picture


Fascinating stuff Keith, and a real surprise, thanks for the detailed description of how this was tracked down. Look forward to hearing the final verdict on which species it is.

Entomologist and biological recorder

eucera's picture

We may well have another

We may well have another record - this time from Bedfordshire. Captured yesterday, it keys out quickly and unequivocally to C. rufa. I am hoping to get this one to the Syrphidologists to confirm

Chairman BWARS

kcf32's picture

The plot thickens

We have been told that, subject to confirmation, a female Callicera rufa has now been found in Befordshire.


kcf32's picture

Still in residence

Revisited the site today and there is still at least one male C. rufa using the central pine.

I have added a photograph from today.