Pipiza noctiluca


Species Biology

Preferred environment

Forest/water-edge ecotones; edges of open areas and tracksides in Atlantic scrub, conifer forest, conifer plantations, Salix forest and Quercus forest; tall herb formations along streams in deciduous forest, around fens and at pool or lake edges in open country; suburban gardens and along hedges in farmland. P. noctiluca is very much a species that "skulks" along and within the fringes of tall-herb vegetation edging tracks or open areas in deciduous and coniferous woodland and in similar situations between wetlands and drier open ground. In this it resembles P. austriaca, but occurs also in wetter and more humid situations than P. austriaca. Additionally, P. noctiluca can occur in suburban gardens.

Adult habitat & habits

Flies among tall ground vegetation and within edges of thickets of Rubus etc., along hedges, tracks within woodland and in open areas in deciduous woodland and scrub and among tall herb vegetation of humid grassland.

Flight period

May/beginning July and end July/beginning September, with peaks in June and August. Larva: aphid-feeding on bushes and shrubs up to 3m from the ground.

Flowers visited

Umbellifers; Crataegus, Filipendula, Ranunculus, Rosa, Stellaria, Taraxacum.

Irish reference specimens

In the collections of NMI


At present, P. noctiluca cannot be reliably distinguished from related species in much of Europe. The limited interpretation of this species adopted here is that of Speight (2002b), who distinguishes it from the other Pipiza species occurring in Ireland. It remains uncertain to which taxon this name should be applied and interpretations vary from author to author. The adult insect is illustrated in colour by Bartsch et al (2009b) and Haarto & Kerppola (2007).


World distribution(GBIF)

Uncertain, due to confusion with other species but, as interpreted here, known from much of the Atlantic zone and Scandinavia. 

Irish distribution

Recorded from Ireland in Coe (1953). Due to the potential for confusion between the males of this species and P. bimaculata, identification of the females in more reliable. P. noctiluca is the most frequently met with species of Pipiza occurring in Ireland and cannot be regarded as threatened here.

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.