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Hoverfly Monoceromyia javana mimics wasp

on 4th January 2023

Order       : Diptera

Subfamily: Eristalinae ( droneflies and allies)

Hoverflies, also known as droneflies, belong to the Insect Order Diptera characterised by one pair of wings (di: two; pteron: wing) and one pair of tiny wings known as halteres.  The halteres are modified hindwings which have flight  mechanosensory functions and stabilise flight events. Many of them hover around flowers and feed on pollens or nectar. They are good mimics of wasps and bees.

These flies have been known to pollinate orchids like Epipactis veratrifolia and slipper orchids.  Their larvae, known as maggots, may be terrestrial and perform pest control of aphids or feed on decaying plant matter; or aquatic e.g. rat-tailed maggots found in water bodies polluted with organic matter like sewage. Larvae of Microdon are adapted to live in ant nests and feed on ant larvae, their faecal pellets and pupae.

Soh Kam Yung shares his photographs of these flies, Monoceromyia javana, taken at Lim Chu Kang and Chestnut Nature Park.

Image 1: Lim Chu Kang. 25 December 2020
Image 2: Lim Chu Kang. 25 December 2020
Image 3: Lim Chu Kang. 25 December 2020
Image 4: Lim Chu Kang. 25 December 2020

 

‘Monoceromyia javana, a Drone Fly (subfamily Eristalinae) spotted in Singapore (Kranji Marshes) on 25 Dec. 2020. Soh Kam Yung thought it was a wasp at first until he took a closer look and realized what it was. Good mimicry.’

 

Image 5: Chestnut Nature Park. 11 October 2021
Image 6: Chestnut Nature Park. 11 October 2021
Image 7: Chestnut Nature Park. 11 October 2021
Image 8: Chestnut Nature Park. 11 October 2021

 

In Soh Kam Yung’s inaturalist account he writes:

Happy to spot this Monoceromyia javana at Chestnut Nature Park on 11 Oct 2021. It looks like a wasp from a distance, but it’s really a Hover fly, and a good wasp-looking mimic.
He received the following comment from a member with moniker ‘arbonius’:
‘Your photos show all the diagnostic characters for the species ID very clearly. This is a male (from the “eyes touching” at the top of the head).’
References:
5.  How hoverflies spawn maggots that sweeten your oranges https://youtu.be/E3nLuK7D7LY
6. Hoverfly larva eating aphids https://youtu.be/YSRo2sgR45c
7.  Biodiversity of Singapore: An encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development © 2011 Edited by: Peter KL Ng, Richard T. Corlett and Hugh T. W. Tan
All photographs © Soh Kam Yung.
Texts and captions by Teo Lee Wei.

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If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

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