Adult habitat & habits
Tracksides, clearings, hedges, gardens, especially along streams or in poorly-drained locations; flies low over ground vegetation and bushes; males hover beside bushes in flower, in the shade beneath trees etc., at up to 3m from the ground.
March/ September. Larva: described and figured by Dusek & Laska (1959), from a full-grown larva found on the trunk of an apricot tree; larvae seem to occur mostly in the litter layer or tussocks of grasses such as Dactylis. Dziock (2002) reported that under laboratory conditions development (from egg-laying to hatching of adult) can take as little as 5-6 weeks in this species. The morphology of the chorion of the egg is figured by Kuznetzov (1988).
Graminae; umbellifers; Allium ursinum, Arbutus unedo, Caltha, Euphorbia, Ilex, Leontodon, Plantago, Prunus spinosa, Ranunculus, Salix repens, Taraxacum, Veronica.
Irish reference specimens
In the collections of NMI and UM
van der Goot (1981).The male terminalia are figured by Dusek and Laska (1967). The adult insect is illustrated in colour by Kormann (1988), Stubbs and Falk (1983), Torp (1984, 1994) and van der Goot (1986). The European Melanostoma species are not well understood at present.
From Iceland and Fennoscandia south to Iberia, the Mediterranean and N Africa; from Ireland eastwards through most of Europe into European parts of Russia; in Siberia from the Urals to the Pacific coast (Kuril Isles); in eastern parts of the Afrotropical region south to Zimbabwe; throughout the Oriental region to New Guinea. It also ranges widely through the Palaearctic, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It is not, however, known from N America. In Europe, it is found from northern Norway to the Mediterranean, but becomes localised to more humid situations in southern parts of the continent.
Recorded as occurring in Ireland in Coe (1953). M. scalare is common and generally distributed in Ireland.
Records submitted to Data Centre in 2021
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Speight, M. C. D. (2008) Database of Irish Syrphidae (Diptera). Irish Wildlife Manuals, No. 36. National Parks and Wildlife Service. Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dublin, Ireland.
Speight, M.C.D. (2014) Species accounts of European Syrphidae (Diptera), 2014. Syrph the Net, the database of European Syrphidae, vol. 78, 321 pp., Syrph the Net publications, Dublin.