Eristalinus sepulchralis


Species Biology

Preferred environment

Wetland; fen, river and pond margins; significantly anthropophilic, occurring also where domestic stock is pastured, along polluted ditches and in the vicinity of slurry pits. This syrphid is primarily an anthropophilic species in Ireland, associated with animal farming. Areas of poached, bare mud enriched with animal faeces or the vicinity of farmyard manure heaps are the situations frequented by the adults. It can occur in Ireland in association with (and has been bred from) constructed wetlands, introduced to farmland for treatment of livestock waste. E. sepulchralis seems to have become less frequent recently, which may be due to changes in farming practices associated with animal waste storage and disposal - the farmyard manure heaps of yesteryear have all but disappeared from the countryside due to progressive enforcement of EU regulations. The same phenomenon is apparent in some of the other syrphids whose larvae feed in cow manure. E. sepulchralis can occur in Ireland away from sites frequented by livestock, for instance in rich fen and eutrophic wetland.

Adult habitat & habits

Low flying, over ground vegetation; frequently settles on wet mud.

Flight period

Mid April/September (March/October in southern Europe). Larva: described and figured by Hartley (1961), from larvae collected in rotting vegetation in a pond. This species has also been collected from emergence traps installed over Glyceria maxima beds in a seasonally temporary pool. Larval morphology also described and figured by Pérez-Bañón et al (2003), who provide a key distinguishing the puparia of this species from the puparia of other European Eristalinus.

Flowers visited

White umbellifers; Achillea millefolium, Allium, Armeria maritima, Bellis perennis, Bidens cernua,Caltha, Cochlearia danica, Crataegus, Euphorbia, Galium, Leontodon, Origanum vulgare, Potentilla erecta, Ranunculus, Rosa, Rubus fruticosus, Salix, Senecio jacobaea, Solidago virgaurea, Sorbus aucuparia, Taraxacum, Tussilago, Valeriana dioica.

Irish reference specimens

In the collections of NMI and UM


See Key provided in StN Keys volume. The male terminalia are figured in Kanervo (1938), Pérez-Bañón et al (2003) and van der Goot (1981). The adult insect is illustrated in colour by Bartsch et al (2009b), Haarto & Kerppola (2007), Kormann (1988), Stubbs and Falk (1983), Torp (1984, 1994) and van der Goot (1986).


World distribution(GBIF)

Fennoscandia south to Iberia and the Mediterranean, including N Africa; from Ireland through most of Europe into Turkey and European parts of Russia; through Siberia to the Pacific coast; Japan; China; India.  It is also common and widely distributed in much of Europe and ranges beyond Europe through Asiatic parts of the Palaearctic and into the Oriental region.

Irish distribution

Recorded as occurring in Ireland in Coe (1953). E. sepulchralis is common and widely distributed in Ireland, even if somewhat less frequent than previously.

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2021

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.