As you know, I like a nice bit of bug porn, and I’m quite pleased with this capture, though the hoverflies looked less than thrilled at finding themselves starring unexpectedly in an X-rated photo shoot. I had to be cautious in approaching them, because they’re capable of flying away while still coupled, but in the event only the male got antsy about my attentions, and he settled back down when the female declined to move: avoiding an annoying photographer clearly sits below fulfilling the reproductive imperative in the Helophilus pendulus hierarchy of needs.
There was an element of fieldcraft here – I know that the hemp agrimony by the wildlife pond is a favoured spot for these sun flies, and when I’m out on a bug hunt I always check to see if it’s being used for hoverfly rumpy-pumpy. But I also had a big slice of luck: firstly in happening to be standing right next to the plant when the female landed on one of the leaves and was promptly jumped by two suitors; and secondly in the the fact that the sun had just emerged for the first time today, lighting up what can be a dark corner of the garden.
In other news, I found yesterday’s ichneumon wasp again this afternoon, working over a patch of yarrow and inserting her ovipositor into the centre of some of the flowers. Yarrow is the larval foodplant of two moths that I know of – the Yarrow Plume and the Tawny Speckled Pug – as well as some flies, so it seems that one of these was her quarry.