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Hornet imitator (Volucella zonaria)

Volucella zonaria

Volucella zonaria

This is our largest Hover-fly Volucella zonaria and quite a whopper it is too at about 2cm in length. It’s a mimic of the hornet Vespa crabro. The female uses this disguise in order to lay eggs in the hornet’s nest, the parasitic offspring then feed on the victim’s larvaeThey’re not exactly common but easy enough to identify by their large size. As you can see it has a mainly orangey-yellow abdomen with dark bands, a yellow bottom and an almost varnished mahogany look to the thorax. And just look at those huge brown eyes and that big pointed yellow face. Once you’ve seen one they’re pretty unmistakeable. Read more