The Hornet-Mimic Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria) is an insect in the Syrphidae family. It is also called the Belted Hoverfly or the Zoned Volucelle. It is a syrph.
The Hornet-Mimic Hoverfly has a yellow and reddish-brown body that looks like a wasp or a bee. Its two abdominal stripes are thicker than those of the bee. Its head is yellow. The female has a larger gap between the top of her eyes than the male (the male’s compound eyes touch each other). The male has a darker head than the female. Its wings and legs are reddish-brown. It does not have a stinger at the end of its abdomen and therefore it is harmless to humans.
It measures about 2 centimetres (amost 1 inch) in length.
It is found across Europe. It prefers forest edges, parks, and gardens. It is usually seen from May to September.
The Hornet-Mimic Hoverfly sips nectar and pollen from flowers.
The female lays her eggs in the nests of hornets and social wasps. The eggs hatch into larvae (grubs). The larvae feed on detritus (dead matter) in the nest of its host. The larvae become nymphs, which burrow into soil. The nymphs become adult hoverflies. This process is called metamorphosis.
[Location of photographs: Paris, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM