Sphaerophoria loewi


Species Biology

Preferred environment

Coastal lagoons with Scirpus maritimus and freshwater lakes with S. lacustris; also occasional records from lacustrine Phragmites beds. This species occurs within beds of emergent reeds and Scirpus and in Ireland its stronghold is probably coastal lagoons. But these have not been systematically surveyed for S. loewi. Inland records from lacustrine reedbeds are almost non-existent. This corresponds with the situation elsewhere in Europe - only in Denmark does this species appear to be to any extent frequent. S. loewi can be regarded as extremely anthropophobic.

Adult habitat & habits

Flies within large stands of Scirpus in shallow water, which it leaves to visit flowers.

Flight period

Beginning June/August, and September in southern Europe. Larva: not described, but reported by Bartsch et al (2009a) as having been found on Phragmites.

Flowers visited

White umbellifers; Butomus, Eupatorium, Filipendula, Lythrum, Persicaria, Ranunculus, Schoenoplectus, Scirpus, Triglochin.

Irish reference specimens

In the collections of NMI and UM


The most comprehensive keys to Sphaerophoria species in which S. laurae is included are those of Haarto and Kerppola (2007a) and Bartsch et al (2009a). The male terminalia are figured by Ball et al (2002). The adult insect is illustrated in colour by Torp (1994) and Bartsch et al (2009a).


World distribution(GBIF)

From Scandinavia south to the Mediterranean (Camargue); from Ireland eastwards through central Europe into European parts of Russia; Kazakhstan, Tajikistan etc. through to Mongolia. It would also be categorised as threatened in other parts of Europe from which it is recorded, with the exception of Denmark. However, there are widely scattered records of this species, from the southern coast of Norway to the Camargue (southern France) and its range does extend beyond Europe, into Asiatic parts of the Palaearctic as far as Mongolia.

Irish distribution

Added to the Irish list by Speight (1982). Most of the few Irish records of S. loewi are from coastal lagoons and, although there may be additional lagoons where it occurs as yet unrecorded, the scarcity of this habitat ensures that any insect largely dependent upon it would itself be scarce. S. loewi has to be regarded as threatened in Ireland and as a species to include in any listing of insects requiring protection throughout the island. 

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2022

The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.



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.