Explorations in European Sphaerophoria

Toward the end of last year I've tried to deal with the European Sphaerophoria observations. I've added sex and life stage annotations to almost all of them except mating pairs, which I have marked with the observation field 'copulating'. Hopefully now the phenology graphs on the genus taxon page are more meaningful (especially because the 'no annotation' plot on the sex phenology graph basically corresponds to 'mating season').

I've also been rolling out the observation field 'Sphaerophoria identifiable group', which was created by @upupa-epops for North American species, but he kindly added some categories for Europe. The main aim of this really is to try and make it possible to find the things that aren't S scripta! The rules I've followed for each value are:

'cf. S scripta': for males that I suspect of being more elongate but can't properly judge the length: for females with a scripta-like marking on T5 (well separated bars terminating in distinct inward-angled longitudinal wedges).
'interrupta group': for specimens I suspect of being a spotted species, primarily interrupta, fatarum or philantha, especially if there is a strong face stripe (the spots being well formed rather than looking like darkened bands)
'Complete lateral scutum stripes': for specimens that have complete lateral stripes on the scutum but seem to not be scripta or interrupta-group
'"cleoae" pattern': for females exhibiting cleoae characteristics regardless of species (terminal tergites/sternites fused into rings, bands broken in the lateral third).

I have also added the observation field 'cf' to several observations, especially if I suspect interrupta s.s. (broad spots and strong face stripe), or taeniata (very bright; female T5 short with quite straight bars narrowly joined or nearly so by an 'isthmus' in the middle)

Highlights included iNat's first S estebani (quite probably the first live photo of that species!), and the second S loewii

"cleoae" I find quite interesting. Almost all of these I assume to be S scripta, but there is one definate S rueppellii and one probable S taeniata. I don't know how much is known about the "cleoae" phenomenon in Europe.

Posted on 23 January, 2024 13:16 by matthewvosper matthewvosper


Cool stuff!

Posted by upupa-epops 6 months ago

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