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Hoverflies (Syrphidae), tribe Volucellini

Larvae are scavengers in bumble-bee or wasp nests


Volucella inanis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Volucella zonaria (Poda, 1761)

Volucella inanis Volucella inanis Volucella zonaria Volucella zonaria
  • Cambridge: 19 Jul 2002; female
  • Large (16mm) fly with 3 striking broad yellow bands
  • Sternite 2 (arrowed) is YELLOW
  • Female, feeding on garden fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) flowers
  • Expanding its range northwards since about 2000
  • Cambridge Botanic Gardens (TL454571): 10 Aug 2007; female
  • Even larger than V. inanis with the dorsal bands a more subdued brown
  • Sternite 2 (arrowed) is BLACK
  • Expanding its range in a similar manner to inanis
  • Enlargements: Top Side


Other perceptible differences are that the wings of zonaria are more extensively tinged yellowish-brown; and each of its wings has only one dark stigna (near the tip) while those of inanis have another midway along the leading edge.

NBN Atlas:
Volucella inanis / Volucella zonaria.


Volucella bombylans (Linnaeus, 1758)

Volucella bombylans
  • Left: Cambridge, Byron's Pool TL437548, 26 May 2015
  • This is var. plumata, which mimics white-tailed bumblebees (but has obviously never seen one). There is another form which mimics red-tailed bumbles.
  • The only bumblebee mimic with a re-entrant outer cross-vein.
  • NBN Atlas.


Volucella pellucens (Linnaeus, 1758)

Volucella pellucens Volucella pellucens
  • Left: Garden, 29 Jun 2002
  • Right: Lime Kiln Close TL486560, 9 Jun 2009
  • Large dark fly with distinctive white band
  • Larger image
  • See Leucozona lucorum for a smaller hoverfly with a white band
  • NBN Atlas.


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