by Carl Strang
The weather rollercoaster we have been experiencing (for instance, last week’s drop of 40 degrees F in less than 24 hours) has not deterred insects from stepping onto the stage at Mayslake Forest Preserve. Some of these have been familiar, and more or less on time compared to earlier years.
Another expected species is the jade clubtail.
Totally new to my experience was this insect.
Then, having found it to be a fly, I was going to call it a robber fly.
A search of my references placed it in the syrphid fly family, but there were at least 4 genera that might fit, and my photos didn’t provide enough detail for me to narrow it down. The densely orange hairy thorax was unlike any species I could find.
I submitted a photo to Bug Guide, hoping someone there would recognize this species. Within two days someone posted an answer that fits perfectly. It is a European import, the narcissus bulb fly, Merodon equestris. The only member of its genus in the U.S., its larvae are pests of daffodil and lily bulbs. The thorax color is highly variable, which is why it was difficult to find an exact match.