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Platycheirus are small to moderately large hoverflies that live in grasses and herbaceous vegetation. The abdomen is black, marked with yellow or grey spots, making the abdomen anything from black to almost yellow. Many species feed on the pollen of wind-pollinated plants, such as Salix, Plantago, Poaceae, Cyperaceae. They also visit flowers, for example, Ranunculus and Umbelliferidae. Many stay active during cold and rainy weather, and observations suggest that lower temperatures are optimal for this genus. The genus contains many species with a boreomontane distribution. Some have a circumboreal distribution. Platycheirus are rather inconspicuous in the field, both because of their small, slender and often blackish appearance and because they tend to remain hidden in the vegetation. They share these features with Melanostoma, a closely allied genus. Catching the flies often requires sweeping a net through the vegetation; a field of Plantago may reveal many Platycheirus of several species.

Keywords: Cyperaceae; Melanostoma; Plantago; Platycheirus; Poaceae; Ranunculus; Salix; Umbelliferidae



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