Volucella zonaria (Belted Hoverfly)
At almost 2cm long, the hornet mimic hoverfly (also known as the ‘belted hoverfly’) is the largest hoverfly species in the UK. As its name suggests, it is an excellent mimic of the hornet, but is harmless to humans. Only a very rare visitor to the country up to the 1940s, it has become more common in Southern England in recent years, and is still spreading northwards, perhaps as a result of climate change. It is particularly prevalent in urban areas. The adults are migratory and the larvae live inside wasps’ nests.
How to identify
The hornet mimic hoverfly is mainly orangey-yellow on the abdomen, with dark bands and a dark brown thorax. It is our largest hoverfly. It can be distinguished from the hornet by its much larger eyes, broader body and the lack of a sting.
Found in Southern England, but spreading north into the Midlands.
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