Ectemnius cavifrons


At 11-16.5mm this is one of the largest Ectemnius species. They are very hard to identify from photographs and a specimen is usually required. The males can sometimes be identified from a good view of the nobbly antennae. The females require an even closer view of the verntral plates and clypeus.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

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Brownfield, grassland, hedgerows.

When to see it

June to October. Double brooded in some years.

Life History

Nests in tunnels in dead wood where the adults stockpile paralysed Syrphidae in separate cells on which the larvae feed.  Nectars on umbellifers and also takes honeydew.

UK Status

Widespread across Wales and southern and central England. A scattering of records from Scotland and Northern Ireland.

VC55 Status

Common in Leicestershire and Rutland. There were 68 records of this species at the end of 2018.

Further Information

The fly Macronychia striginervis is an inquiline in the nests of larger Ectemnius species like this.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map