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Helophilus trivittata - top view
Helophilus trivittata - top view

Helophilus trivittatus
Helophilus trivittatus is a species in the order two-winged flies (Diptera), the suborder flies (Brachycera), the infraorder Muscomorpha (section Aschiza), the superfamily Syrphoidea, the family hoverflies (Syrphidae), the subfamily Milesiinae (synonym Eristalinae), the tribe Eristalini, the subtribe Helophilina, and the genus Helophilus. Some scientific synonyms for this species are: Helophilus trivittata, Tubifera trivittata, Helophilus parallelus, Helophilus parrallelus, Musca parallelus and Musca parrallelus. Helophilus trivittatus are widespread in the Palaearctic ecozone of Asia, in Europe and in North America. It is widespread in Germany, migratory and appears yearly with varying frequency.
Helophilus trivittata - side view
Helophilus trivittata - side view
Adult Helophilus trivittatus are among the largest domestic hoverflies and reach body lengths of 11 - 17 mm, the males being much smaller than the females. Their bodies are slimly built and whitish, whitish-yellow, yellow, brown and black in colour.
Helophilus trivittatus
Helophilus trivittatus
The head is is elongated at the front. The first two segments of the antennae are black, the third is yellowish-brown. The 2nd segment is ovoid to roundish in shape. The area between the eyes is whitish-yellow or yellow and is broken up by a grey-yellow central line. The compound eyes are positioned at a distance to each other. In the males this distance is just wear slightly smaller.
Helophilus trivittatus
Helophilus trivittatus
The upper surface of the chest is mostly whitish-grey, whitish-yellow or yellow in colour. There are 3 wide black stripes in the middle. The scutellum is yellowish-brown with a light olive sheen and has, a very thin, central, whitish-yellow stripe which runs lengthwise.
Helophilus trivittatus - Hover fly
Helophilus trivittatus - Hover fly
The abdomen of the female is flat with yellow spots on the 2nd and 3rd segments There is an unbroken, white, diagonal stripe on the 4th abdominal segment. The 5th segment also has a transverse whitish line on the upper surface. The males only have a white diagonal line on the upper surface of the 3rd segment.
The anterior and middle pair of legs are mostly reddish in –colour, while the rear pair are black and red and larger. The upper part of the legs (femurs) is thick, and the tibia are curved and get thinner towards the feet (tarsi). Due to their appearance, Helophilus trivittatus can easily be confused with Helophilus pendulus. However the females of the latter, have a clearly visible black stripe on the face. In addition, the white diagonal line on the 4th abdominal segment is broken in the middle in Helophilus pendulus.
Helophilus trivittatus are active from May to October but mainly in August. They live in various habitats, but prefer green fields with plenty of flowering plants and damp areas such as ditches or ponds. However the occurrence of this species is not confined to wetlands. These hoverflies often fly long distances in search of pollen and nectar. Among the numerous flowering plants they visit are: thistle, goldenrod (Solidago), Aegopodium podagraria, Senecio, oregano (Origanum) and hogweed (Heracleum). As pollinators of these plants, Helophilus trivittatus play an important ecological role.
After mating, the fertilized females lay their eggs in stagnant water which is often very muddy. Here, the oxygen content of the water plays a decisive role, as egg-laying can even take place in cesspools. From these eggs the so-called "rat-tailed maggots" hatch – larvae with a long breathing tube attached to the abdomen that extends up to the surface of the water. The larvae feed on decaying organic matter and thus make an important contribution to water clarification.

Helophilus (Helophilus) trivittatus
German namesSumpfschwebfliege, Große Sumpfschwebfliege
Dutch namesCitroenpendelvlieg
Danish namesTrebåndet sumpsvirreflue
Finnish namesKeltanaamahelosurri
Swedish namesLjus kärrblomfluga
AuthorJohann Christian Fabricius, 1805

North Europe (British Isles (United Kingdom (Great Britain (England (English Midlands (East Midlands (Leicestershire)), North England (Northwest England (Cheshire))))), Ireland), Germany (West Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia)), Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark), Fennoscandia (Finland), Baltic region (Baltic States (Estonia))), West Europe (Austria, France, Switzerland, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg)), South Europe (Italy (Italy Islands (Sicily), North Italy, South Italy), Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal)), Central Europe (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia), East Europe (Ukraine)
Far East (East Asia (Mongolia)), West Asia (Near East (Iran)), Central Asia (Turkestan (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan)), North Asia
Siberia (West Siberia (West Siberian Plain), Russian Far East (Kamchatka, Sakhalin Oblast (Sakhalin)), South Siberia (South Siberian mountains), Middle Siberia), Ural
North America

Distribution by Synonymus:
Helophilus parallelus   Europe, Poland, Ukraine, Armenia, Slovakia, Sicily, Iran, Kazakhstan, USA, Caucasus, Turkmenistan, West Siberian Plain, Kamchatka, Sakhalin, North Italy, Russia, Ural, South Italy, South Siberian mountains, Middle Siberia, Central Yakutia
CountriesArmenia, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkmenistan, USA, Ukraine, United Kingdom
Links and ReferencesHelophilus trivittatus in
Helophilus trivittatus in Wikipedia (English)

Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Helophilus trivittata - top view
2. Helophilus trivittata - side view
3. Helophilus trivittatus
4. Helophilus trivittatus
5. Helophilus trivittatus - Hover fly
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Helophilus trivittatus
AuthorFabricius, 1805
Eristalis trivittatus
Helophilus camporum
Helophilus parallelus
Helophilus parrallelus
Helophilus solitarius
Musca parallelus
Musca parrallelus
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