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Volucella zonaria

 
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stuart
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Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 737
Location: Peterborough, UK

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 5:39 pm    Post subject: Volucella zonaria Reply with quote

Volucella zonaria (Poda, 1761)

Identification ease/difficulty: 2

StatusSources of information
Pictures:
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Last edited by stuart on Wed Jun 01, 2005 9:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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stuart
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Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 737
Location: Peterborough, UK

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2005 8:41 am    Post subject: Species account from the Provisional atlas Reply with quote

Species account from Provisional atlas of British hoverflies, Ball & Morris, 2000.

Volucella zonaria (Poda, 1761)

Biology: The larvae are scavengers and predators in the nests of social wasps (including the hornet Vespa crabro), where they probably feed on larvae and pupae. This, our largest and most spectacular hoverfly and seems to be entirely anthropogenic in Britain. It is usually seen visiting flowers in suburban areas where it occurs in parks and gardens. Many recent records come from civic amenity plantings around car-parks and urban roads

Distribution: Verrall (1901) only knew of two specimens, and until about 1940 it was regarded as a rare vagrant to the south coast of England, and greatly prized by collectors. Then, during the 1940s, it began to become established in the London area and is now quite frequent, especially in the outer suburbs and in northern Kent. Its distribution elsewhere is remarkably similar to that of V. inanis, with a few scattered records along the south coast from Kent to Cornwall and also in the Bristol area. Records outside the London area seem to be increasingly frequent, so it is possibly spreading
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stuart
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Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 737
Location: Peterborough, UK

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2005 9:08 am    Post subject: Data sheet from National Review of Diptera, Falk, 1991 Reply with quote

Datasheet from the Review of Scarce and Threatened Diptera, Falk (1991).

VOLUCELLA ZONARIA (Poda) NOTABLE

DISTRIBUTION Essentially south-eastern though records extending as far west as Devon. It is particularly frequent in the London suburbs, even penetrating into the city centre itself on occasions.

HABITAT Preferences unclear though records include scrub, heath, woodland and ruderal sites well into towns and cities, in fact this species seems particularly numerous in urban areas.

ECOLOGY The larvae develop as commensals in nests of wasps including Vespula germanica and V. vulgaris. The larvae probably feed on organic debris accumulating in the nest cavity below the nest itself and are increasingly being reported from within houses where they are presumably derived from wasp nests in roofs or beneath floor boards. The striking adults which resemble worker hornets Vespa crabro are recorded from June to October and feed on a wide range of flowers including thistles Cirsium and Carduus, brambles and in gardens, privet and Buddleia. The adults are somewhat migratory.

STATUS Increasing dramatically since its first record in 1901. However its numbers fluctuate markedly from one year to the next. It is possible that it only becomes resident in England in years following substantial continental influxes and that cold, wet summers reduce its resident population severely. Recent work in the Netherlands has suggested that it is the females that are migratory and in some years large numbers of them accumulate in coastal areas. In Britain we also experience years dominated by females and these probably represent mass immigrations. Subsequent years tend to have equal numbers of males and females, probably representing resident populations. In good years it is a reasonably common insect in the south east.

THREAT This species does not seem to be unduly threatened by mans activities and actually seems to thrive in suburbs, perhaps due to enhanced populations of certain wasps. The restricted range seems to be purely a response to climatic factors.

MANAGEMENT Maintain a range of conditions at sites including open rides and clearings within woodland, some limited scrub or bushes on grassland and heathland, but prevent excessive scrub invasion through rotational cutting or grazing where necessary.
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55bloke



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 1
Location: Sheffield, U.K.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having seen this spectacular insect in Jersey a week or so ago, I am curious to know more about it. Intrigued to read thet the larve lives in wasp nests, and would be interested in;
a How the eggs get into the nest?
b How the larve avoids being killed by the wasps?
c Assuming the larve pupates in the nest, how the emerged adults escape without being attacked?
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bs48



Joined: 01 Sep 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2006 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is probably a one-off post, but just to say that we had to get an ID directly from the NHM, having never seen an insect like this before. We are a few miles south of Bristol; and a single hoverfly of this species has visited our garden now on several occasions during August, frequenting a boundary hedge where there appear to be a lot of wasps. Having now read more about its behaviour, that ties in very well. Quite surprised to find that it has its own webpage!
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Suzi



Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just joined this forum to report Volucella Zonaria in my garden. I first saw two of these on my dark purple buddleia mid-August. Saw them over a week. My first thought was hornets but they didn't seem quite right so I looked in my ref. books and found out what they were. This week I've seen one on Verbena Bonariensis. I'm 6 miles inland from Sidmouth in East Devon. Never seen these before which isn't to say they're newbies here but I am quite a nature watcher and I think I'd have seen them.
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