[Syrphidae] Generic Identification Help Needed

Kumar Ghorpade blossomfly1973 at yahoo.co.in
Fri May 29 07:28:40 BST 2009

Dear John:
   From the image you provided the predator larva involved sems certainly a Coccinellidae (Coleoptera) and probably what Santos guessed, a woolly larva of Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Mulsant.   But for positive ID one needs to check adult beetles.  The aphid is certainly a species of Dactynotus. Cryptolaemus is native Australian and has been introduced in several parts of the world for biocontrol of aphids and coccids. Robert Gordon has published monographsb of Neactic Coccinellidae and also Scymninae.  The Australian Coccine;idae have also been monographed by R.D. Pope, and a working specialist is available in that country now. 
  However,  I personally caution against using only images for positive IDs.  What is the hurry ?  The degradation of taxonomy in insects to the pattern followed in birds (illustrated "guides") by bird "watchers" (who remain only that) is unfortunate and has me seething !!  Cheers, 

Dr Kumar Ghorpade, B.Sc.(Agri.), M.Sc., Ph.D. (Entomol.). 
Smithsonian Institution (U.S.A.) Postdoctoral Fellow (1982-1983) researching Oriental Syrphidae, Sciomyzidae and Ephydridae (Diptera). 
Currently: Post-Graduate Teacher & Research Associate in Systematic Entomology, Department of Agricultural Entomology, University of Agricultural Sciences, Krishi Nagar, Dharwar 580 005, Karnataka (INDIA). 
Postal address: P.O. Box 221, K.C. Park Post Office, Dharwar 580 008, INDIA.. 

--- On Tue, 26/5/09, jopagr at comcast.net <jopagr at comcast.net> wrote:

From: jopagr at comcast.net <jopagr at comcast.net>
Subject: Re: [Syrphidae] Generic Identification Help Needed
To: "Santos Rojo" <santos.rojo at ua.es>
Cc: "Hoverfly discussion list" <syrphidae at lists.nottingham.ac.uk>
Date: Tuesday, 26 May, 2009, 3:34 AM

#yiv853010633 p {margin:0;}

Dear Santos:
Yesterday another colleague had guided me to the Coccinellidae after I expressed a doubt as to its being a syrphid.  I did find an image of Cryptolaemus montrouzieri and felt compelled to consider my bug as identified until you pointed out the genus "Scymnus or close."  I now realize that there are apparently several species (and possibly other genera) in the Scymnini that could represent what I photographed.  Thanks for  your very kind effort in enlarging my view!  
John Graham
jopagr at comcast.net
25 May 2009

----- Original Message -----
From: "Santos Rojo" <santos.rojo at ua.es>
To: "Hoverfly discussion list" <syrphidae at lists.nottingham.ac.uk>
Cc: jopagr at comcast.net
Sent: Monday, May 25, 2009 8:55:37 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re: [Syrphidae] Generic Identification Help Needed

Dear John

The larvae covered with white filaments of waxy material it is a ladybird beetle probably Scymnus genus or close. Here you can see a photo. Larvae and adults are predators of aphid colonies.


Best regards

Santos Rojo


In the USA did encounter an aphid predator that I believe was a syrphid.  The I failed to collect the animal, or even examine it, I did take a photo of it, on a Hairy Cat's-Ear (Hypochaeris radicata) plant supporting a population of Uroleucon (Dactynotus) aphids.

The predator in question showed a tessellated pattern of distinct and prominent wax tufts.

The only other non-coleopterous insect predator of which I am familiar is the lepidopterous Feniseca tarquinius larva, but I believe it preys on woolly aphids such as the Prociphilus tessellatus.  In that predation mode, it can get somewhat randomly and loosely covered with wax filaments producted by the aphids.  The predator in question, however, is not covered this way--and furthermore, the Uroleucon in question does not produced was filaments.

I have included a photo of the insect.  Would appreciate commentary by anyone familiar with it.


John Graham, Ph.D., entomology

jopagr at comcast.net\


Instituto Universitario CIBIO - Centro Iberoamericano de la Biodiversidad
Dpto de Ciencias Ambientales y Recursos Naturales
Universidad de Alicante. Apdo. 99
E-03080 Alicante, Spain
Tlf.: (int + 34) 965 90 34 00 ext. 3281
FAX: (int + 34) 965 90 38 15
e-mail: santos.rojo at ua.es
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