Eriozona syrphoides: A new hoverfly for Merseyside and the Sefton Coast.

First recorded in North Wales in 1968 (although an earlier specimen dating from 1957 was later discovered from Lancaster), Eriozona syrphoides is a large hoverfly that similarly to other Syrphids is a good mimic of bumblebees. In addition to the previously mentioned NW records, it has been recorded in East Lancashire and Greater Manchester. Elsewhere, there are scattered records across Britain, although it is nowhere common and the species is thought to be spreading southward, utilising conifer plantations.

Female Eriozona syrphoides, Formby, April 2023 (P. Kinsella)

On 25th April 2023, I found a female basking on freshly opened Sycamore leaves at Ravenmeols LNR, Formby, Merseyside ( see above photo). This came as a complete surprise, as I had not considered the species as a prospective find on the Sefton Coast. I speculated that this was a vagrant insect, possibly from North Wales or East Lancashire. However, on the 29th April I found a male at the same location and on the 1st May found another male about 1km to the north (see photo below). These appear to be the first records of this species in Merseyside and certainly for the Sefton Coast.

This is a large and obvious species that is difficult to overlook and as I and others have diligently studied the hoverflies at Formby over the last few years without noting it, then it would appear that these three records may represent a newly established population of E. syrphoides in the coastal woods on the Sefton Coast.

Male Eriozona syrphoides, Formby, May 2023 (P. Kinsella)