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Golden Hoverer This rare hoverfly (Plate 16) was photographed and identified by Robert Garrod in the walled garden at Holywells Park, Ipswich in September 2004. The Golden Hoverfly, Callicera spinolae features in the national Biodiversity Action Plan and acts as a ‘flagship’ species to help conserve the wildlife that depends upon rot-holes in trees. It is an endangered species found only in East Anglia and is considered rare throughout its range in Europe. Apart from records in the 1990s from Thornham Estate by Graham Rotheray, it had not been recorded in Suffolk since the late 1940s (Aston 1996, 1997). The adult looks quite similar to a wasp except, as the name implies, it is coated in golden downy hairs. It can be distinguished easily from wasps by the antennae, which are long and black with white tips. Also, as with all true flies, it has only one pair of wings where wasps have two pairs. It is essentially a woodland species and the adults are unusual in having a flight period in early autumn where most other species associated with dead wood fly during the spring. Adults are most easily seen on ivy flowers, one of the few nectar sources available at this time of year. The species has been known for some years at the National Trust property Wimpole Hall in Cambs. Simon Damant, the site manager informs me that ‘both beech and horse chestnut are used; rot holes are usually submerged for most of the year, though they do tend to dry out in the summer. Rot holes do not smell of rotten eggs and are usually deep within the tree heartwood. Mostly only one or two larvae are found, but up to ten larvae can be counted on occasions. The best time to survey for larvae is in the early spring, stirring the water by hand usually brings the Callicera larvae to the surface and can be easily identified by very active nature, they also are the only larvae with fused prolegs. References Aston, A. (1996). The Golden Hoverfly, Callicera spinolae Rondani. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 32: 28. Aston, A. (1997). The Golden Hoverfly, Callicera spinolae Rondani - an earlier first British occurrence from Suffolk. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 33: 49. Martin Sanford, S.B.R.C., Ipswich Museum, High Street, Suffolk IP1 3QH

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 41 (2005)

R. Garrod Plate 16: Golden Hoverer Callicera spinolae on ivy blossom at Holywells Park, Ipswich, September 2004.

Golden Hoverer  

Martin Sanford

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