Allograpta obliqua – Hover Fly

The Common Oblique Syrphid

Success at last! I have been trying for years to photograph one of these “hover flies” on a flower or “sitting still”.

Click on the photo for a better look at this beauty.

Allograpta obliqua
Allograpta obliqua - Common Oblique SyrphidUpdate: the flower is Verbesina encelioides.


(Hover Flies or Flower Flies)
The flower Flies very closely resemble wasps and bees. In Europe they are more commonly called Hover Flies because of this ability to hover. Despite their appearance, they are harmless (unless you are an aphid). They are also very valuable pollinators of flowers.

The larvae of this Subfamily are primarily aphid predators.  Adults have bare humeri (postpronotal lobes), though these are often hidden by the concave posterior of their close fitting heads.

Explanation of Name:
Allograpta obliqua
allo is Greek for other, another, different
grapt is Greek for inscribed, painted, marked with letters, written
obliqu is Latin for oblique,


The male obliqua has pale crescent-shaped bands on third abdominal tergite. (This one is a male). 2 other male characteristics are: eyes together and a broader abdomen (Not tapering). It has transverse yellow bands on the abdomen, and two oblique yellow marks near the tip. The larvae are smooth and green, with a broad white median strip. The breathing tubes are prominent.

6-7 mm (A. obliqua)

Some patterns of the Allograpta Genus

Leave a comment if (1) you have seen a hover fly, (2) you like insects, or (3) you just like the photo.


Borror, Donald J. , Richard E. White, INSECTS: Peterson Field Guides
Eaton, Eric R., Kenn Kaufman, Kaufman Field Guide to the Insects


About Troy

Retired Scientist and Naturalist. Avid Bible reader
This entry was posted in Diptera, insects, Naturalists, Syrphid fly and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Allograpta obliqua – Hover Fly

  1. Tammie Averyt says:

    Beautiful photo, Troy — congrats on your success! Where was this taken?

  2. Karla Grimwood says:

    Gorgeous photo, Troy! I enjoy your photos and learning from you. Thank you so much for sharing your passion with us. Keep them coming!

  3. David Brockman says:

    Great photo, Troy! Congratulations on finally getting your subject to sit still. 🙂
    By the way, what’s the flower?

  4. John says:

    I have seen hoverflies and even photographed some, though not as well as you did!

  5. Marvin says:

    I have seen hover flies, I love insects and I thought the photo was excellent — such detail! (I also snagged the ID chart. Thanks.)

  6. Pam Phillips says:

    Let me add to the chorus: Beautiful photo! The chart is also very helpful.

  7. MObugs41 says:

    Beautiful picture, I know just how difficult photographing these little guys can be.

  8. Ben Leza says:

    THANKS! I found a swarm of these around my garden and wanted to know what species they were. Google image search brought me to your amazing photo!
    Thanks again!

  9. Rebecca says:

    I photographed this fly in my prairie garden southeast of Lincoln, NE a few days ago and have spent hours trying to identify it. It does have those oblique marks near the tip of its abdomen. My photo isn’t as good as yours…it was moving over and under a sprig of goldenrod. Love thre red eyes..

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