Eristalis horticola


Species Biology

Preferred environment

Wetland/forest; fen, cut-over valley bog, margins of pools, brooks and rivers. This is a species of brooksides in humid forest and scrub, both deciduous and coniferous, plus fen. The ecology of this species seems to be the same in Ireland as elsewhere. Lack of natural conifer forest in Ireland may be responsible for its lower frequency at higher altitudes here and the acidified, over-shadowed streams characteristic of commercial conifer plantations do not provide a replacement - where E. horticola occurs in these plantations the streams or pools are in the open or fringed by deciduous trees. It does not occur in the standard farmland landscape of green fields plus hedges, unless streams or other water bodies are present, or in suburban gardens and parks.

Adult habitat & habits

Usually close to water; flies along stream banks, pond margins, visiting flowers of marginal vegetation and settling on foliage.

Flight period

End May/mid September, plus April in southern Europe. Larva: the larva and puparium are described by Dolezil (1972).

Flowers visited

Yellow composites; white umbellifers; Compositae; Ranunculaceae; Umbelliferae; Calluna vulgaris, Cardamine, Cirsium, Crataegus, Eupatorium, Galium, Jasione, Pyrus communis, Ranunculus, Rubus fruticosus, R.idaeus, Sambucus, Sorbus aucuparia, Stellaria, Succisa, Viburnum opulus.

Irish reference specimens

In the collections of NMI and UM


See Key provided in StN Keys volume and Hippa et al (2001), who figure the male terminalia. Van der Goot (1981) also figures the male terminalia. The adult insect is illustrated in colour by Bartsch et al (2009b), Stubbs and Falk (1983), Torp (1984, 1994) and van der Goot (1986). This species has appeared in much recent literature under the name E. lineata.


World distribution(GBIF)

Fennoscandia south to N Africa; from Ireland eastwards through much of Europe into Russia and on through Siberia to the Pacific coast (Sakhalin); India.

Irish distribution

Recorded as occurring in Ireland in Coe (1953). Widely distributed and frequent in Ireland and much of the Atlantic seaboard of western Europe, E. horticola is essentially an Atlantic zone insect, becoming localised in central Europe where it is only frequent in the uplands, and confined to mountainous country in southern Europe.

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.