The bog hoverfly (Eristalis cryptarum) is a small hoverfly with narrow yellow bands on a dark abdomen and orange legs. Little is known of its ecology in the UK but recent records have been made from sheltered Rhos pastures and valley mires on Dartmoor.
It is an elusive species and the larval stages have not been identified. Since this life stage is most dependant on particular habitat and little is known about what conditions it prefers there is a need for research to develop alternative survey methods that target the larval stages and field observations to learn more about its ecology.
Wild Planet Trust, in partnership with the Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA), the John Spedan Lewis Foundation and the University of Exeter, is developing an environmental DNA tool that detects bog hoverfly eDNA in water samples. This type of genetic method is being used increasingly for the detection of elusive species. Field work to observe the hoverfly and record egg-laying behaviour will further aid in the identification of potential breeding sites.
Tracey Hamston, Paignton Zoo
Catherine Mitson, University of Exeter
Jamie Stevens, University of Exeter