New website on Ireland’s hoverflies

From the National Biodiversity Data Centre:
In collaboration with Dr Martin Speight the National Biodiversity Data Centre is delighted to announce that the Irish Pollinator Initiative has been expanded and now includes information on Irelands hoverflies. ‘We are delighted to have been able to work with Martin Speight, one of the top syrphid experts in Europe, to make such valuable information on Irish hoverflies freely available’ said Dr Úna FitzPatrick of the Data Centre.

There are approximately 900 species of hoverfly known from Europe, with 180 of them occurring in Ireland.  The new website contains a wealth of information including:

–     General information on hoverflies in Ireland and how to recognise them
–     Detailed species accounts for all 180 Irish hoverflies, including distribution maps and photographs of the species
–     Information and resources on Syrph the Net, an innovative species predictive tool used across Europe and developed by Martin Speight, that employs hoverfly assemblages  in assessing the biodiversity maintenance potential of sites, and in identifying site management priorities.
–     Keys for the identification of adult European Syrphidae that can be freely downloaded

The launch of the website coincides with the creation of a national hoverfly database by Dr Martin Speight and Dr Tom Gittings that is available to view through Biodiversity Maps.   Martin Speight is running two workshops on hoverfly identification as part of the Data Centre’s biodiversity workshop programme in 2013.

Dr Martin Speight has said “hoverflies are fascinating insects with complex life histories,  and can be found in a wide range of habitats within Ireland. Not only do they carry out an important role in ecosystem services through pollination, but the assemblage of syrphids found on a site can be used to  evaluate how well that site is functioning from a biodiversity perspective. Hoverflies are increasingly being used as tools in this way. A surprising amount is now known about Ireland’s hoverflies. But there’s still plenty to find out!”

There has never been a better time to learn about these fascinating insects. Visit the website here:

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