Syrphus ribesii is a very common Holarctic species of hoverfly. Its larvae feed on aphids. In common with many other species of hoverfly, males have the eyes meeting on the top of the head, whilst females have their eyes widely separated.
Adults are very similar in appearance to Syrphus vitripennis and Syrphus torvus. Females may be distinguished by the former having entirely yellow femorae, and from the latter by having no hairs present in their eyes. Males also have bare eyes, unlike S. torvus, but are extremely similar to S. vitripennis, differing only in having some black hairs present on the hind femur and in having the second basal cell of the wing entirely covered by microtrichia.