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Drone fly - Eristalis tenax on a white flower
Drone fly - Eristalis tenax on a white flower

Drone flies
The drone fly (Eristalis tenax) is a hoverfly and is common throughout the world. It is quite striking in appearance.
Hoverfly - Drone fly - Top view
Hoverfly - Drone fly - Top view
The fly can reach a body length of 14 to 18 mm. It has a dark brown abdomen, the second segment of which has yellow, reddish-yellow or ochre wedge-shaped spots. The drone fly has black compound eyes, which are connected by hairy bends above and below. The femalesí eyes are clearly separated, while the malesí meet.
Eristalis tenax - Drone fly - Rear view
Eristalis tenax - Drone fly - Rear view
Drone flies are especially common in rural areas, (but are also encountered in populated areas), where they are often found in dunghills. They feed on nectar preferably from the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and the carrot family (umbellifers).
Drone fly - Front view
Drone fly - Front view
The female drone flies lay their eggs in sewage treatment plants and other muddy or foul waters. The larvae have a breathing tube, which is up to 100 mm in length. Therefore they are known as rat-tailed maggots. The larvae of drone flies develop to a body length of up to 20 mm. Due to the fact that they filter feculent particles from the water, they contribute to the clarification of water.
Eristalis tenax mating
Eristalis tenax mating
When the larvae of the drone flies leave the water they enter buildings in search of a place to become pupae. They are exterminated when they occur en masse. Since the drone fly shows few escape reflexes, it can be captured in the hand.
Eristalis tenax
Eristalis tenax
Adult drone flies are active from March to October. As the female drone flies overwinter, they also can be encountered outdoors on warm winter days.
Drone flies mating
Drone flies mating

Eristalis (Eoseristalis) tenax
Common namesRat-tailed Maggot, Drone Fly, Dronefly, Rattailed maggot, European hoverfly
German namesMistbiene, Scheinbienen-Keilfleckschwebfliege
Dutch namesBlinde Bij
Danish namesDroneflue
Finnish namesKuhnurikärpänen, Kuhnurisurri
Swedish namesStorslamfluga
French namesSyrphe éristale
AuthorCarl von Linné (Carl Nilsson Linnæus), 1758

North Europe (British Isles (United Kingdom (Great Britain (England (English Midlands (East Midlands (Leicestershire)), North England (Northwest England (Cheshire)), South England (Southwest England (Dorsetshire))))), Ireland), Fennoscandia (Finland), Germany (West Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia)), Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark), Baltic region (Baltic States (Estonia))), West Europe (Austria, France, Switzerland, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg)), South Europe (Italy (Italy Islands (Sicily, Sardinia), North Italy, South Italy), Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal)), Central Europe (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia), Southeast Europe (Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro (Montenegro), Macedonia), Bulgaria, Greece)
South Asia (Nepal, Afghanistan), Far East (East Asia (China, Japan (Bonin Islands), Mongolia, Korea (South Korea))), West Asia (Near East (Turkey)), Central Asia (Turkestan (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan)), North Asia
Armenia, Georgia
Siberia (West Siberia (West Siberian Plain), Russian Far East (Sakhalin Oblast (Kuril Islands, Sakhalin)), South Siberia (South Siberian mountains), Middle Siberia), Ural
Australia (Tasmania (South Tasmania (Southeast Tasmania (Hobart)), Tasmanian Central Highlands, Northeast Tasmania (Ben Lomond), Tasmanian Northern Slopes, West Tasmania), East Australia (Queensland (South East Queensland, Desert Uplands (Brigalow Belt South)), New South Wales (Australian Capital Territory (Canberra), Sydney Basin (Sydney), Blue Mountains, NSW North Coast, New England (New England Tablelands), Darling Riverine Plains, Nandewar, Dorrigo, South West Slopes), Victoria (Melbourne, Victorian Midlands), Murray Darling Depression), Northern Territory, South Australia (Adelaide, South Eastern Highlands (Australian Alps), Kangaroo Island, Flinders Lofty Block), West Australia (Jarrah Forest, Perth, King George Sound, Swan Coastal Plain))
New Zealand (North Island (Gisborne)), Hawaii, Easter Island, Norfolk Island
North Africa
Southern Africa
Lesotho, Republic South Africa
North America
Mexico, USA (California, Ohio, Lake Erie Islands), Canada (Ontario), Saint Pierre and Miquelon
South America
Colombia, Argentina, Chile

Ecozones: Nearctic

World Oceans:

Pacific Ocean
Pacific Islands
Pacific Subtropical Islands

Distribution by Synonymus:
Eristalis alpinus   Montenegro
CountriesAfghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, USA, United Kingdom
Links and ReferencesEristalis tenax in
Eristalis tenax in
Eristalis tenax in
Eristalis tenax in Wikipedia (English)

Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Drone fly - Eristalis tenax on a white flower
2. Hoverfly - Drone fly - Top view
3. Eristalis tenax - Drone fly - Rear view
4. Drone fly - Front view
5. Eristalis tenax mating
6. Eristalis tenax
7. Drone flies mating
Quick search: Drone - Fly - Eristalis - Flies - Tenax - Eggs
Eyes - Larva - Maggot - Hoverfly - Hoverflies - Drones - Treatment - Body
Insects, True insects
Winged insects
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Holometabolous Insects
True flies, Mosquitoes, Gnats, Flies
Short-horned flies, Muscoid flies, Circular-seamed flies, Flies
Rat-tailed Maggots, Hoverflies, Hover flies, Drone flies, Flower flies, Syrphid flies
Rat-tailed maggots
Eristalis tenax
Rat-tailed Maggot, Drone Fly, Dronefly, Rattailed maggot, European hoverfly
AuthorLinnaeus, 1758
Conops fuscus
Conops vulgaris
E. campestris
Eristalis alpinus
Eristalis campestris
Eristalis claripes
Eristalis cognatus
Eristalis columbica
Eristalis hortorum
Eristalis sinensis
Eristalis sylvaticus
Eristalis ventralis
Eristalis vulpinus
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Musca obfuscata
Musca porcina
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