A fly, oh, my!
On the approval scale, they don't rank nearly as high as honey bees, but some are often mistaken for them.
Take the Eristalis stipator, which belongs to the family Syrphidae, the hover flies.
It's about the same size as a honey bee and it's a pollinator.
We recently spotted this one--a female Eristalis stipator, as identified by senior insect biosystematist Martin Hauser of the California Department of Food and Agriculture--nectaring on tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica. The colors are striking--both the colors of the fly and the flowers. It's a striped fly, with black and white bands, one superimposed gold band, and buff-colored hairs piled on the thorax. And the showy flower, aka "blood flower," is red-orange with a yellow hood.
Eristalis is a large genus of approximately 99 species. The Eristalis stipator has no common name, so we just call it Eristalis stipator.
Or a fly.
Author - Communications specialist
A female Eristalis stipator (as identified by Martin Hauser of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, foraging on tropical milkweed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The female Eristalis stipator peers at the photographer. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Eristalis stipator in flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
See you! Off flies Eristalis stipator, heading for another blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)