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Eristalis interrupta: courtship display

Posted by
Johan Dierckx (Wijnegem, Belgium) on 8 October 2012 in Animal & Insect and Portfolio.

Eristalis interrupta (syn: Eristalis nemorum) (NL: Puntbijvlieg / EN: Eristalis interrupta / DE: Mittlere Keilfleckschwebfliege / FR: Eristalis interrupta) is a species of hoverfly in the Eristalis genus.

Eristalis interrupta males show a characteristic hovering behaviour above females sitting on a flower. It is part of the courtship display of the species.

A male may hover one or two centimetres above a female for minutes. The female may move over a flower and rotate, the male mostly hovers steadily with the axis of the body remaining approximately in the same direction. It sometimes even occurs that a second male is hovering above the first male. (see image !) Disturbances of for example females on moving flowers due to wind are of only minor influence on the hovering behaviour. The ability of the male in controlling its position above the female in these circumstances is very impressive.

This behaviour is ideallly suited to the application of control system theory. The males are capable of closely following a female in the horizontal direction. Information about the reference point is available when the female is rotating relatively fast. A male may use different reference points on the body of the female. When the female is making a jump to another flower, the male only loses control for 0.1 to 0.2 second and afterwards is following the female again. The control of vertical distance is also very tight. After a jump of the female in the vertical direction the male chooses at first a larger distance, this distance is decreasing with a time constant of the order of a second to the final distance. When two males are hovering above a female the male at the largest distance from the female is probably following the first male in the horizontal direction.

A very interesting article about this is available on http://www.nev.nl/sete/sete-2010/075-084-Wijngaard-2010.pdf

Image: Schilde (BE) - 01/08/2012

Canon EOS 400D 1/160 second F/11.0 ISO 200 150 mm

© Johan Dierckx

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☺ ► ƸɼiϾ ◄ ☼ from Narbonne, France

excelent shot !!! well seen and compose

8 Oct 2012 6:22am

Aigleloup from Rebecq, Belgium

Super Johan. C'est unique comme photo

8 Oct 2012 7:46am

Sylvie from France

c'est vraiment excellent, jamais je n'ai vu ce style de photo. Bravo !

8 Oct 2012 9:15am

morbil from Melbourne, Australia

Fantastic image, so simple and I love simple.

8 Oct 2012 10:01am

Ana Lúcia from Leiria, Portugal

Really superb.

8 Oct 2012 12:48pm

Maggy from Liège, Belgium

Superbe prise, c'est fabuleux avec une excellent MAP.

8 Oct 2012 6:42pm

Basile Pesso from City of Aminus, Paris, France

Excellent capture and bokeh !

8 Oct 2012 7:45pm

Christine from Ellemford, United Kingdom

Superb series, fabulous capture

9 Oct 2012 6:18am

Basile Pesso from City of Aminus, Paris, France

Deserved spotlight, congrats !

9 Oct 2012 7:18pm

☺ ► ƸɼiϾ ◄ ☼ from Narbonne, France

...and congrat for the spotlight :-)))))

9 Oct 2012 7:47pm

Baldwin from Bejuma, Venezuela

Een absoluut prachtige foto ....
en een welverdiende Spotlight ... Proficiat !!!

9 Oct 2012 8:40pm

Ruthiebear from Titusville, NJ, United States

Congratulations on your SPOTLIGHT!

9 Oct 2012 8:43pm

omid from mashhad, Iran

Congratulations! :)

9 Oct 2012 8:53pm

Melocoton from Salamanca, Spain

Congratulations, master shot, bravo

9 Oct 2012 8:55pm

Sin Banoo from charlottesville, United States

That's amazing

9 Oct 2012 9:27pm

Enzo from Lausanne, Switzerland

Incroyable réussite! Félicitations pour ce Spotlight amplement mérité!

9 Oct 2012 9:50pm

Judy aka L@dybug from Brooksville, FL, United States

What a great macro shot ... congratulations!

9 Oct 2012 10:58pm

Denise from granby, québec, Canada

Incredible shot! Congratulations!

9 Oct 2012 11:11pm

Loretta from Pretoria, South Africa

Magic image and lovely saturated colours! Well deserved spotty :-)

10 Oct 2012 4:19am

john4jack from Corvallis, Oregon, United States

superb. congratulations

10 Oct 2012 4:27am

Aubélia from Kortrijk, Belgium

Gefeliciteerd met de spotlight

10 Oct 2012 6:23am

Alun from cheshire, United Kingdom

Amazing image, so hard to shoot, well done

10 Oct 2012 7:14am

Babzy from Besançon, France

stunning captures !

10 Oct 2012 8:54am

Devi from Chennai, India

Fantastic shot Johan

And thank you for all that info :-)

10 Oct 2012 9:52am

Mhelene from Villiers-sur-Marne, France

Wow ...Superb !! Congratulations on the spotlight !

10 Oct 2012 11:06am

Judy aka L@dybug from Brooksville, FL, United States

Fantastic ... congratulations!

10 Oct 2012 12:35pm

Stu from From Scotland | Living in 京都 Kyoto, Japan

Oh my! I'm in awe. Very well done Johan.

10 Oct 2012 1:00pm

farideh from rasht, Iran

very nice

10 Oct 2012 1:25pm

Sylvie from France

très mérité ! je repasse la voir ta photo tellement elle est superbe !

10 Oct 2012 2:32pm

Marcie from Asbury, United States


10 Oct 2012 7:32pm

Saeed Rasoulof from Tehran, Iran

wow , great shot . . . interesting moment . . . I like it :)

11 Oct 2012 8:18am

fahimeh from tehran, Iran


4 Nov 2012 7:28pm

Canon EOS 400D
1/160 second
ISO 200
150 mm