Malllota cimbiciformis at Ainsdale NNR – A new hoverfly for Merseyside and the Sefton Coast

Female Mallota cimbiciforimis – Ainsdale – 2nd July 2023 – P. Kinsella

On 2nd July 2023, I found a female Mallota cimbiciformis feeding on bramble flowers at Ainsdale NNR, Merseyside. The sighting represents the first record for Merseyside and the Sefton Coast. There are just a few of records elsewhere in the region so far this century, the most recent being in Greater Manchester in 2022.

Mallota cimbiciformis is a Nationally Scarce hoverfly in the UK, with records spread thinly across the country. The adult insect is a superb mimic of the honey bee, especially so in flight. The larvae live in deep, water-filled rot holes in over-mature trees, such as Beech and Sycamore. There are several old Sycamores adjacent to the location of this sighting and this record once again emphasises the importance of old and decaying trees that are left in situ within wooded areas. Thankfully, the management of some of the woodland on the Sefton Coast has allowed plenty of such trees to remain and records of scarce saproxylic insects, such as this Mallota, are a direct result of this.