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The Flower Flies of the Subfamily Syrphinae of Canada, Alaska and Greenland

The Syrphidae, flower flies or hover flies, are among the most common, most brightly colored and conspicuous, and most frequently collected of Diptera. They occur on almost all land areas except Antarctica; they occur from the northern end of Greenland and Ellesmere Island southward. Because of their diverse larval habits, they occur in almost all habitats, from rain forests to arctic or torrid deserts, and from marine salt marshes to the upper limits of vegtation on mountains.
This work is concerned primarily with identification of adult Syrphinae of Canada, Alaska, and Greenland. Although the subfamily has received much attention from professional and amateur entomologists, both generic and specific taxonomy of Syrphinae, until recently, has been unsatisfactory. The many Nearctic revisions by Curran, Fluke and Shannon between 1921 and 1954 were commonly based on scanty material; their overemphasis on the importance of color pattern led to recognition, in many genera, of far too many apparent species. The major treatments by Sack (1928-1932) and Séguy (1961) of the Palaearctic and western European species, respectively, suffered from the same defects.