Dasysyrphus tricinctus


Species Biology

Preferred environment

Deciduous forest, coniferous forest and conifer plantations; in particular Picea plantations and areas of scrub Betula in sheltered locations (e.g. associated with stands of mature coniferous or deciduous trees), but can occur in a wide range of deciduous woodland situations. This is an enigmatic species, in that the adults are rarely encountered other than as isolated individuals. In mature woodland this might be attributed to them flying more at canopy level than within reach of an observer, but in scrub the species also occurs only as isolated specimens. Birch (including scrub) and oak woodland and conifer plantation are the main habitats with which the species has been found in Ireland, and this would be consistent with its habitats in continental Europe.

Adult habitat & habits

Tracksides, clearings etc.; predominantly arboreal, but descends to visit flowers of low-growing plants.

Flight period

April/October, with pronounced peaks in April/May (Belgium) or May/June (Ireland) and August/ September and very few records from the intervening period. Larva: has been observed predating sawfly larvae on Picea and lepidopterous larvae on deciduous trees (Gabler, 1938, Friederichs et al, 1940); features of the larva are described and figured by Dixon (1960) and the larva is illustrated in colour by Rotheray (1994). Egg: features described and figured by Chandler (1968).

Flowers visited

Yellow composites; white umbellifers; Calluna, Campanula,Convolvulus, Cornus, Euphorbia, Geranium, Parnassia, Plantago, Polygonum, Ranunculus, Sedum,Sorbus, Stellaria, Succisa, Valeriana.

Irish reference specimens

In the collections of NMI and UM


van der Goot (1981). The male terminalia are figured by Hippa (1968b) and Vockeroth (1969). The adult insect is illustrated in colour by Kormann (1988), Stubbs and Falk (1983), Torp (1984, 1994) and van der Goot (1986).


World distribution(GBIF)

Iceland south to the Pyrenees and northern Spain; from Ireland and Fennoscandia eastwards through much of central and northern Europe and Russia to the Pacific coast and Japan. Neither is it regarded as threatened elsewhere in Europe. D. tricinctus has an extensive range both in Europe and in Asiatic parts of the Palaearctic region.

Irish distribution

Recorded as occurring in Ireland in Coe (1953). For whatever reason, there are few records of this species from central and western parts of the island. Nonetheless, D. tricinctus is known from Donegal to Kerry and Galway to Wexford, and is not infrequent. Certainly, it is not a threatened insect in Ireland at present.

Temporal change

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.