Epistrophe grossulariae


Species Biology

Preferred environment

Deciduous forest, particularly along rivers and streams, including Salix swamp woodland; also alpine grassland. In Ireland this species seems to be found primarily in association with humid, tall herb communities rather than in more open grassland with tall herbs like thistles, or in open areas in woodland - situations in which it can occur in continental Europe. It does not occur in the standard Irish farmland landscape of green fields plus hedges, or in conifer plantations, or in suburban gardens and parks. The general land surface drainage, which accompanies current trends in intensification of use of farmland, can only have caused diminution in the frequency of this insect.

Adult habitat & habits

Clearings, tracksides and beside streams etc.; adults fly at up to 3m; males hover at 2-5 m over tracks etc.

Flight period

End June/September, with males predominating in June and females continuing on into September. Larva: described and figured by Rotheray (1986) and figured in colour by Rotheray (1994), from larvae collected on Acer pseudoplatanus; aphid feeding; Dixon's (1960) material identified as E. grossulariae was wrongly determined. Chambers et al (1986) refer to having collected larvae of this species from winter wheat crops. Mazánek et al (2001) include this species in their key to the third stage larvae of European Epistrophe.

Flowers visited

White umbellifers; Centaurea, Cirsium, Filipendula, Geranium, Knautia, Rhododendron, Rubus, Sambucus nigra, Succisa, Valeriana.

Irish reference specimens

In the collections of NMI and UM


Doczkal and Schmid (1994). The male terminalia are figured in Hippa (1968b) and Vockeroth (1969). The adult insect is illustrated in colour by Kormann (1988), Stubbs and Falk (1983) and Torp (1994).


World distribution(GBIF)

Fennoscandia south to Spain; from Ireland eastwards through Eurasia to Kamchatka; Italy; the former Yugoslavia and Turkey; across N America from Alaska to Quebec and south to California. 

Irish distribution

Recorded as occurring in Ireland in Coe (1953). Although E. grossulariae has been recorded from many parts of Ireland, the species has not been seen frequently, particularly recently. It is possible that this species is undergoing a rapid decline in Ireland, but the available data are inadequate to demonstrate this. E. grossulariae could not be regarded as under threat here at present, but its status probably requires re-assessment in the short term.

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.