Common Twist-tail

Sphaerophoria scripta


Wing length 5 - 7mm. This is a very difficult genus to separate into species. The male of S. scripta is about the only one that can be confidently identified in the field because its abdomen extends well beyond the wingtips. The females are all very similar to each other, as are most of the other males. These are small, slim hoverflies with a brown thorax, bright yellow scutellum and black abdomen marked with yellow. The patterns on the abdomen can vary even within a species.


Open grasslands and hedgerows. The larvae feed on ground layer aphids.

Status and distribution

One of Britain's commonest hoverflies, though not so common in the north. Numbers can be augmented by immigration through the summer. Common in Nottinghamshire and very common at Netherfield Lagoons.

Best time to see

April to November.