Alder Fly - Sialis lutaria


Alder Flies are dark brown with greyish-brown wings with black veins.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

There are three very similar Sialis species in Britain and detailed examination is required for species identification. When submitting a record for Sialis species please mention the details that you have used to help you to determine the species.  Any records without this information can only be accepted as 'Plausible'.  In order to distinguish the three species of Sialis, examination of the external genitalia (males) or anal plates (females) is required, but is relatively easy as no dissection is required.


It can be found near ponds and streams with silted bottoms and an abundance of weed or plant detritus. Despite its name, it has no association with Alder trees, other than being found on foliage beside water, which is where Alder is usually found.

When to see it

Adults can be seen resting on emergent vegetation around the pond, mainly in May and June, often in large numbers.

Life History

It lays its eggs in large batches of 200 or more on plants or other objects at the water's edge. The larvae are aquatic, living amongst mud and detritus and preying on smaller insects.

UK Status

Very common and widespread in Britain.

VC55 Status

Common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Species group:
Lacewings & Scorpionflies
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
20/04/2007 (Nicholls, David)
Last record:
12/04/2024 (Nicholls, David)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

The latest images and records displayed below include those awaiting verification checks so we cannot guarantee that every identification is correct. Once accepted, the record displays a green tick.

In the Latest Records section, click on the header to sort A-Z, and again to sort Z-A. Use the header boxes to filter the list.

Latest images

Latest records