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A very boldly marked, medium-sized hoverfly. It is always worth checking this species for the dark form of the much rarer C.elegans or the even rarer C. vernale. There is also a very rare species of southern heathland, C. vernale, which resembles a small C. festivum with the yellow bars of the tergites much straighter.
Tall grassland and open scrub. Adults visit a variety of flowers, but especially umbellifers and thistles.
Late May to the end of August.
The larvae are probably associated with ant-attended root aphids.
Frequent in in southern Britain.
Occasional in Leicestershire and Rutland.
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