Large Wasp/Hornet type insect
Location: South Coast U.K
September 1, 2010 7:49 am
Hello, im from England on the south coast.
Wasps are a common sight and i have occasionally seen large ones of approximately an inch or so. This was one of the biggest i have ever seen at just over an inch long, also it is very unusual looking with a red/brown and black striped pattern Large Red eyes and a bright yellow stripe down its head. The attached image is the best i could get before it flew away. Really would love to know what it is as i have looked around and it doesnt appear to be a native species.
This is not a wasp, but rather, a fly that mimics a stinging insect for protection. It is a Hover Fly in the family Syrphidae, a group also known as Flower Flies, and owing to its large size and the location of the sighting, we thought it might be Volucella inanis, a species with no specific common name other than the generic Hover Fly. We found an image similar to your photo posted to a website devoted to UK Insects but there is a note that a related species, Volucella zonaria is even larger. Wikipedia has a page devoted to Volucella zonaria which is known as the Hornet Hover Fly, and there are photos on the BioImages Virtual Field-Guide UK website that match your specimen nicely. UK Safari also has a nice photograph of the Hornet Hover Fly which is called the Belted Hoverfly.
Thank you so much for your fast reply. Very interesting!
I am of course familiar with hoverflys, very common, but i’ve honestly never (knowingly!) seen one anywhere near that size before!