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Melanostoma scalare
Melanostoma scalare

Melanostoma scalare
Melanostoma scalare is a species in the order two-winged flies (Diptera), the family hoverflies (Syrphidae) and the genus Melanostoma. This species is widespread and common in Europe, Africa and Asia. It can easily be confused with Melanostoma mellinum. Melanostoma scalare reach body lengths of 8 - 10 mm while Melanostoma mellinum are slightly smaller (4 - 8 mm).
Hoverfly - Melanostoma scalare
Hoverfly - Melanostoma scalare
Melanostoma scalare are shiny and have a black base colour. The forehead and face are covered in a yellowish powder. Only the central stripe on the face is shiny, while in Melanostoma mellinum the entire face is a shiny black. The males have red compound eyes which are almost directly beside each other, while there is a distinct gap between those of the females. 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 have short bristles, whereas in Melanostoma mellinum, the antennae are almost completely hairless.
Melanostoma scalare - Female
Melanostoma scalare - Female
The abdomen is slightly rounded (in the males with parallel sides) and each segment from the 2nd segment on has 2 elongated orange patches which are curved at the rear end. In Melanostoma mellinum these patches are always elongated and angular. These markings may be completely absent on some individuals of both species.
Melanostoma scalare are encountered at almost all altitudes and in almost all habitats including open woods and forest edges, they are, however, most frequently found in grasslands. The adults are active from April to September. They drink liquids such as nectar and chew pollen, which they find on umbellifers or grasses.
Melanostoma scalare produce two new generations a year. The first new generation is active from April to May, and the second new generation, from September to October. The females of the first generation lay their eggs on the larval food plants in late May, and the females of the 2nd generation oviposite in early August. The larvae prey on aphids and other soft-skinned insects. After 2 months, they pupate and shortly afterwards emerge as adults.
Insect-eaters, birds, dragonflies, robber flies and wasps are the natural enemies of Melanostoma scalare. As Melanostoma scalare ensure the pollination of many plants, they are considered ecologically important.

Melanostoma scalare
German namesMatte Schwarzkopfschwebfliege
Dutch namesSlanke Driehoekzweefvlieg
Danish namesLang græssvirreflue
Finnish namesPölymaakirvari
Norwegian namesLang gressblomsterflue
Swedish namesLång gräsblomfluga
AuthorJohann Christian Fabricius, 1794

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))), South Europe (Italy (Italy Islands (Sicily, Sardinia), North Italy, South Italy), Iberian Peninsula (Spain)), West Europe (France, Switzerland, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg)), Southeast Europe (Greece), Central Europe (Czech Republic, Slovakia)
Far East (East Asia (Japan, Korea (South Korea))), North Asia
Siberia (Russian Far East (Sakhalin Oblast (Kuril Islands, Sakhalin)), South Siberia (South Siberian mountains), Middle Siberia), Ural
North America

CountriesBelgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom
Taxonomic statusSynonymus of Melanostoma fasciatum
Links and ReferencesMelanostoma scalare in
Melanostoma scalare in Wikipedia (English)

Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Melanostoma scalare
2. Hoverfly - Melanostoma scalare
3. Melanostoma scalare - Female
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Melanostoma scalare
AuthorFabricius, 1794
Melanostoma ceylonense
Syrphus gracilis
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