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Cheilosia illustrata

Where most Cheilosia species are completely black, Cheilosia illustrata is the exception. It is black, with white hairs on the thorax and the first part of the abdomen and reddish-brown hairs at the end of the abdomen. This way is looks like the black-thoraxed variation of the Greater Bulbfly. But it is easy to tell the two species apart: the greater bulbfly has yellow hairs on its thorax and white hairs on the abdomen. Furthermore it has plain wings, while Cheilosia illustrata has the wings darkened in the center. Looking from above at an animal in rest this darkened patch is sometimes hard to see as it is over a black part of the abdomen, due to a lack of hairs there.

Cheilosia illustrata is a fairly big species, measuring 7 to 12 mm. Adults are on the wing from April to September, but with a definite peak in July. Adults feed on pollen and nectar and prefer umbelifer flowers of Hogweed and Angelica. The larvae bore in the rootstocks of Common Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium). It is weird this animal has no common name in English, for it is very common and sometimes even abundant all over the British Isles, as long as the foodplant of the larvae is present. Also very common all over Europe and eastwards into Western Siberia.