Dear Readers, I was absolutely fascinated by this tiny fly on my angelica yesterday. I know that it’s a celery fly, and that its larvae will happily mine the leaves on what is currently my favourite pondside plant, but what a performer it is! My photo is far from perfect, but hopefully you can see that it has a shiny black body, wings rippled with chocolate, a bright yellow head and green eyes. All this in a critter smaller than my little fingernail.
It seemed to be displaying, though I couldn’t see anyone apart from me who was enjoying the show. The fly twisted its wings from side to side, hopped from one leaf to another, investigated the fallen pollen from the angelica flowers, disappeared briefly and then hopped back again.
And to my delight, a bit of research showed me that this male fly is actually displaying, and furthermore you can watch it too:
Celery flies lay their eggs on the leaves of the host plant, and the larvae burrow in and mine the inside, leaving a brown or yellow blotch. After four weeks, the larvae drop to the ground and pupate in the soil, with a second generation emerging later in the summer. I found it very interesting that the first generation of larvae burrow to a measly four or five centimetres down into the ground, but the second generation, who have to survive through the winter, will dig down to about 10 centimetres. Nature really is quite remarkable.
I would never have seen this fly if I hadn’t grown my angelica, and so it seems that whenever yo you plant something, you don’t just get the flora, you get the fauna that it attracts too. The angelica is now taller than me, and is attracting not just bees, but an early blue butterfly too – this one is a holly blue, and I hope that it’s found the ivy that’s overtaking my shed for its eggs. I am so delighted with this plant, and if you have a damp patch in the garden and don’t mind something huge, I’d definitely plant this beauty.