Correction – Volucella zonaria

In my post ‘Backyard Safari‘ from September 15th I included this photograph of a magnificent hoverfly which I identified as Volucella inanis:

I subsequently received a comment from Roger Morris of the Hoverfly Recording Scheme (HRS) to let me know that I had incorrectly identified the fly and it is in fact Volucella zonaria. So thanks to Roger for putting me straight.

When it appeared in my garden I mistook it for a hornet, it’s our largest hoverfly and I’ve seen it described as a ‘hornet mimic’. The adults feed on flowers such as buddleia which may be why it appeared in my garden, and the larvae feed on the detritus which accumulates in the cavity at the bottom of wasp nests. It wasn’t recorded as resident in the UK until the 1940’s when it appeared around London and then spread across the south of England to the west country. It’s population is still most dense in the south east but it is regularly recorded in the east Midlands with occasional recordings in the northwest of the country.

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14 responses to “Correction – Volucella zonaria

  1. How do I get more readers to my wordpress blog please?

  2. You captured that really well Finn. Lovely photo! Love the head of this Hoverfly with the yellow line in between…and you can even see the structure of the wings. Great shot!

  3. Hoverflies are among my favourite insects. So beautiful and inquisitive. Great image!

  4. Whatever you call it, it’s a splendid little fellow!

  5. Gorgeous picture. We’ve got lots of those, and other hoverflies. They adore the Ragwort! which we leave until just about to seed then it has to go…

    • Will you be posting some pictures of your hoverflies? It’s only recently I realised how many species we have and how colourful they are. I’d love to see some of your examples from Cornwall. I guess your ragwort is good for the bugs but not so good for the cows?

      • Exactly, though I think it’s possibly worse for horses and I think they have to eat a lot for it to kill. But everyone is a bit sensitive about it spreading too much into pasture so we observe the countryside etiquette to a point. I have a picture of a hoverfly in my A Million Tiny Wings post (Sept) I think it may be the same one? I will definitely post more if I see them…they do a lot of bee imitation too, for which I can’t remember the reason!

      • I guess the bee mimicry is probably to convince potential predators they have a sting in the tail.

        I’ll beetle over and have a look at your ‘A million tiny wings’ post with the hoverfly.

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