Fig 1

DESCRIPTION: Wing length 8 - 14mm. A quite beautiful hoverfly that is a noticeable bee mimic with a rounded furry body.  The colour range is variable but the two main varieties are one that is primarily black with an orange tail (var. bombylans) and one that is yellow banded with a white tail (var. plumata).  The wings are milky white with a dark cross-band in the anterior half and a diffuse dark spot at the wing tip. BEHAVIOUR: The female lays her eggs in the nests of bumblebees and social wasps where the larvae feed on debris and occasionally the bee larvae.  This species has a preference for Thistle and Bramble flowers as well as those of Hogweed.  Males are territorial and seen patrolling and perching on low herbage. DISTRIBUTION: Common throughout and quite widespread but never seen in big numbers. HABITAT: Hedgerows, woodland margins and urban wasteland. PERIOD: May to September.

Back to Gallery