Helophilus seelandicus

The three lined hover fly, is one of about 40 known endemic members of the family Syrphydae, and can be found in almost all habitats in New Zealand, even in the alpine zones.

From a human perspective, the adult hover fly of flower-fly looks quite pretty – the fat, rat-tailed maggot that makes up its larval stage rather not. But the larvae can survive under the harshest circumstances because they use their “rat-tail” as a breathing tube in oxygen depleted water. This lets them thrive in foul water containing rotting matter and faeces, e.g. in dairy waste or sewage.

The attractive-looking adult gets its common name from the three black stripes that contrast with yellow stripes on the thorax. It also has yellow markings on the abdomen, yellow legs. Ngaro Tara is a noisy flier when foraging on flowers. Like other hover flies, they mimic bees and also feed on nectar and pollen. It is no surprise that they are very important pollinators of the flowers they visit.

In summer you can often see them on your windows, trying to get back out into the backyard.

Check these links for more info on the Hover Flies in NZ

iNaturalist.nz: Observations of Helophilus seelandicus

Wikipedia: Information on Hover Flies


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iNaturalist.nz image © Mike Lusk
iNaturalist.nz image © Steve Kerr