The habitat is wetland, forest, alluvial forest, fen, farmland, suburban gardens and parks. Like Eristalis tenax, the larva of E. pertinax is a rat-tailed maggot and lives in drainage ditches, pools around manure piles, sewage, and similar places containing water with high organic load and low oxygen concentration.
E. pertinax distinguished from the similar-sized E. tenax and E. similis by the orange coloured front and mid tarsi. E. tenax also has entirely dark, swollen hind tibia and stripes of dark hairs on the eyes. Males of E. pertinax have particularly pointed (tapered) abdomens. Spring individuals are generally darker and furrier than summer and autumn ones, and often have the middle of the wings distinctly clouded.
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