Awkward Clusterfly - Pollenia rudis


    The typical cluster fly Pollenia rudis is about 7 mm long, has short golden-coloured hairs on the thorax and irregular light and dark grey areas on the abdomen. Cluster flies are typically slow moving and pass the winter as adults so are very common in early spring.

    Similar Species

    There are 8 Pollenia species in Britain, most of which require microscopic examination to key out. See ID Aids below. Pollenia rudis is generally the most common species though some of the others are also common.

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance
    • yellow hairs on thorax
    • patterned abdomen
    • yellow/orange rear spiracle
    • dark palps
    • facial ridge between the antennae
    • 2 or more anterodorsal bristles on the mid tibia
    Identification aids

    pollenia key

    Recording advice

    Explain how you identified this fly and the key features.


    In autumn, it can be commonly found sunning on sheltered fences and tree trunks.

    When to see it

    All year round.

    Life History

    Cluster flies are so called because they congregate, often in large numbers, to hibernate in attics and out-houses. Its larvae parasitise earthworms.

    UK Status

    Widespread and common in Britain.

    VC55 Status

    Common in Leicestershire and Rutland

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

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

    UK Map