Flies in the family Syrphidae are commonly known as hoverflies, flower flies, or syrphid flies.
As their common names suggest, they are often seen hovering or nectaring at flowers; the adults of many species feed mainly on nectar and pollen, while the larvae (maggots) eat a wide range of foods. In some species, the larvae are saprotrophs, eating decaying plant and animal matter in the soil or in ponds and streams. In other species, the larvae are insectivores and prey on aphids, thrips, and other plant-sucking insects.
About 6,000 species in 200 genera have been described. Hoverflies are common throughout the world and can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Hoverflies are harmless to most other animals despite their mimicry of the black and yellow stripes of wasps, which serves to ward off predators.
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