Volucella inanis

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Volucella inanis
Hornet Mimic Hoverfly (Volucella inanis) on Devil's-bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis).JPG
Volucella inanis on Succisa pratensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Family: Syrphidae
Genus: Volucella
Species: V. inanis
Binomial name
Volucella inanis
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Volucella inanis is a species of hoverfly belonging to the family Syrphidae.


Volucella inanis, female – dorsal view

The adults reach 15–17 mm (0.59–0.67 in) long and can be encountered from early July to early September, feeding on flowers of various species such as yarrow (Achillea millefolium), dill (Anethum graveolens), heather (Erica species), thistles (genera Carduus, Cirsium, and Onopordum) and Buddleja davidii.

They have three yellow bands on an otherwise black abdomen and thus closely resemble wasps in a form of mimicry. The first two bands are completely or partially interrupted by a black wedge. The head has feather-like antennae and the wings have darkened patches in the middle and on the tip.

The female lays eggs in the nests of social wasps and hornets (Vespa crabro, Vespula germanica, etc.). The larvae of this hoverfly are ectoparasites of larvae of the wasps.[1]


This species is present in most of Europe, in East Palearctic ecozone, in the Near East and in North Africa.[2]


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