Melangyna lasiophthalma


Species Biology

Preferred environment

Forest; acidiophilous Quercus forest; Fraxinus/Salix gallery woods along rivers; wet forest of Alnus/Salix; Betula/Salix forest; coniferous forest (Abies/Picea) and conifer plantations, plus Atlantic scrub, hedgerows, suburban gardens and orchards. M. lasiophthalma occurs in Ireland in association with most types of scrub woodland and conifer plantations, and field hedges of Crataegus/Prunus spinosa. It is thus a markedly anthropophilic species in the Irish landscape of today. In continental Europe it is found in acidophilous Quercus forest, humid beech forest and humid conifer forests.

Adult habitat & habits

Edges of clearings, tracksides etc.; largely arboreal, females flying round tree foliage from 2m upwards; descends to visit flowers and frequently settles on the trunks of standing trees, in the sun; males hover over tracks, in glades etc., from 2m upwards.

Flight period

March/June and on into July at higher altitudes/more northerly latitudes. Larva: described and figured by Goeldlin (1974), who found larvae on yellow gentian; aphid-feeding. Figured in colour and separated from larvae of some other Melangyna species in the keys of Rotheray (1994). Egg: Chandler (1968).

Flowers visited

Acer pseudoplatanus, Alnus glutinosa, Anemone nemorosa, Anthriscus, Caltha, Chrysosplenium oppositifolium, Corylus avellana, Euphorbia, Ilex,Lonicera xylosteum, Narcissus, Oxalis, Prunus laurocerasus, P.spinosa, Ranunculus, Salix, Sambucus,Sorbus aucuparia, Taraxacum, Tussilago, Ulex.

Irish reference specimens

In the collections of NMI and UM


Speight (1988a). The male terminalia are figured by Hippa (1978). The adult insect is illustrated in colour by Kormann (1988), Torp (1994) and Bartsch et al (2009a).


World distribution(GBIF)

From Iceland and Fennoscandia south to the Pyrenees and mountainous parts of Spain; from Ireland eastwards through northern Europe and mountainous parts of central Europe into European parts of Russia; through much of Siberia. In the Nearctic from Alaska south to Colorado and Maryland. In Europe, it ranges widely through northern parts and mountainous areas further south. It is a Holarctic insect, present in much of Canada and in mountainous parts of the USA.

Irish distribution

Recorded as occurring in Ireland in Coe (1953). M. lasiophthalma is a widely distributed and frequent, early spring species in Ireland. 

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2022

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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.