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Melanostoma mellinum - Side view
Melanostoma mellinum - Side view

Melanostoma mellinum
Melanostoma mellinum is a species in the order two-winged flies (Diptera), the suborder flies (Brachycera), the family hoverflies (Syrphidae), and the genus Melanostoma. This species of hoverfly is one of the most widespread in Europe, America, Africa and Asia. Melanostoma mellinum can easily be confused with Melanostoma scalare.
Melanostoma mellinum - Male
Melanostoma mellinum - Male
Adult Melanostoma mellinum reach body lengths of 4 - 8 mm. They are shiny with a black base colour. Melanostoma scalare are slightly larger (8 - 10 mm). The compound eyes of the males are red and almost join together, while the females have a significant gap between. There are several simple eyes (ocelli) on the top of the head. The mouthparts are designed for licking up juices. The antennae are tripartite and almost completely hairless, while those of Melanostoma scalare have short hairs.
Melanostoma mellinum
Melanostoma mellinum
The abdomen is slightly rounded (in the males with parallel sides) and each segment, from the second segment onwards, bears 2 long, angular orange patches. In Melanostoma scalare, these patches roundish at the back. Some individuals of both species lack the markings on the abdomen.
Melanostoma mellinum prefer habitats such as grasslands or forest edges with medium to high humidity. The adults are active from April to September. The hoverflies suck up liquids such as nectar and chew the pollen, they find on members of the parsley family, yellow composite flowers, ivy, grasses, plantain, mints or hogweed. You often encounter Melanostoma mellinum in damp, cool weather because there is less competition for food.
Melanostoma mellinum produce two new generations a year. The first is active from April or May, the second from September or October. The females of the first generation lay their eggs in late May, and the females of the second generation do the oviposition in early August on the food plants of the larvae. The larvae are initially blind. They prey on aphids, flies and other soft-skinned insects. After 2 months, they pupate and shortly thereafter emerge as adults.
Insect-eaters, birds, dragonflies, robber flies and wasps are the natural enemies of Melanostoma mellinum. As they ensure the pollination of many plants, Melanostoma mellinum are ecologically important.

Melanostoma mellinum
German namesHonig-Schlankschwebfliege, Glänzende Schwarzkopfschwebfliege, Glänzende Schwarzkopf-Schwebfliege
Dutch namesGewone Driehoekzweefvlieg
Danish namesAlmindelig græssvirreflue
Finnish namesKiiltomaakirvari
Swedish namesKort gräsblomfluga
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))))), Ireland), Germany (West Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia)), Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark), Fennoscandia (Finland), Baltic region (Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia)), Iceland), 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 (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia), Southeast Europe (Greece), East Europe (Ukraine)
South Asia (India, Afghanistan), Far East (East Asia (Mongolia, Korea (South Korea))), West Asia (Near East (Iran)), Central Asia (Turkestan (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan)), North Asia
Siberia (West Siberia (West Siberian Plain), East Siberia (Amur Oblast), Russian Far East (Sakhalin Oblast (Kuril Islands, Sakhalin), Primorsky Krai), South Siberia (South Siberian mountains), Middle Siberia), Ural
North America
Canada (Ontario), USA (Washington, Utah, Virginia, Ohio, Lake Erie Islands), Saint Pierre and Miquelon
North Africa

Ecozones: Nearctic

Distribution by Synonymus:
Melanostoma dubium   Austria
Cheilosia parva   Morocco
Melanostoma dubium   Utah
Melanostoma angustatum   Nearctic
Cheilosia parva   Azrou/Ifrane area
CountriesAfghanistan, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkmenistan, USA, Ukraine, United Kingdom
Links and ReferencesMelanostoma mellinum in
Melanostoma mellinum in
Melanostoma mellinum in Wikipedia (English)

Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Melanostoma mellinum - Side view
2. Melanostoma mellinum - Male
3. Melanostoma mellinum
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Melanostoma mellinum
AuthorLinnaeus, 1758
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