Volucella zonaria


This is a hornet mimic and is one of our largest and most spectacular hoverflies which can be recognised by its yellow and black banded abdomen. It is chestnut on tergite 2 and also on the scutellum and much of the thorasic dorsum. The only similar species is V. inanis which lacks the chestnut areas and which has sternite 2 yellow rather than black.

Identification difficulty

It seems to be found most frequently in urban areas and even in cities.

When to see it

May to November peaking in August.

Life History

Adults visit flowers. The larvae have been found in wasps nests.

UK Status

This species became established in Britain in the 1940s and until recently it had very much a southerly distribution with most records coming from south of a line from the Severn Estuary to The Wash, however it seems to be expanding its range and is now quite frequently recorded further north.

VC55 Status

Records of this species have recently become more frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland. It seems to be increasing in numbers in our area.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map