Empis tessellata

    Description

    9-12mm. This is the largest of the genus. It is a bristly fly with brown-tinged wings. It has black femora but the tibia and tarsi may be red/brown.

    Similar Species

    Empis opaca is another large Empis species but this has red femora.

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance
    • 9-12mm
    • 3 dark thoracic stripes overlaying rows of bristles
    • >4 bristles on the scutellum
    • prosternum hairy all over (located under the thorax, between the head and front coxa)
    Habitat

    It frequents hedges, woodland edges, gardens and shrubby habitats. Particularly common on Hogweed and other umbellifer flowers.

    When to see it

    April to August.

    Life History

    Though it feeds on nectar it is also a predator and catches other insects using its long pointed proboscis to pierce their bodies. Males of E. opaca and E. tessellata present a 'gift' to the female, in the form of a dead insect, before mating takes place. Females will not mate with males who do not present a gift.

    UK Status

    Common and widespread in Britain.

    VC55 Status

    Common in Leicestershire and Rutland

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

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

    UK Map