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Scientific classification

The Syrphidae, commonly known as flower flies, or hoverflies, are a family of flies (Diptera).

As one of their names suggests, they are most often seen around flowers; the adults feed mainly on nectar and pollen, while the larvae (maggots) eat a wide range of foods. In some species, the larvae are saprophytes, eating decaying plant and animal matter in the soil or in ponds and streams. In other species, the larvae are carnivores and prey on aphids, thrips, and other plant-sucking insects. Aphids alone cause tens of millions of dollars of damage to crops worldwide every year, and so aphid-feeding hoverflies are being recognised as important natural enemies of pests, and potential agents for use in biological control.

Some syrphids mimic bees or wasps in appearance, in some cases bearing an alarming resemblance, both in shape and coloration. It is thought that this mimicry protects hoverflies against falling prey to birds and other insectivores which avoid eating true wasps because of their sting. Adult syrphid flies are important pollinators.

About 6,000 species in 200 genera have been described.

Syrphid fly on Photina''

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