Wasp-mimic Flower Fly
Female: Lower face pale yellow, covered with pale yellow pile, slightly concave below antenna. Upper face yellow with black stripe down middle from top of head to antenna base; eyes wide apart.
Male: Lower face cream; extensively protruding, cream continues above antenna base. Male has eyes touching above antenna base, then separating slightly before top of head, exposing a cream triangle.
Simple eyes (ocelli) small, on top back margin of head.
Antenna: Light brownish-orange; very short. Typical fly-like antenna.
Thorax: Black with slight greenish sheen. Segment 1 (scutum) has wide yellow stripe, interrupted at centre and toothed at base of thorax. Yellow stripe across mid segment, interrupted at centre. Yellow stripe at segment end, wavy, entire. Segment 2 (scutellum) black base, rest yellow. Thorax sides have middle stripe on top continuing down sides; stripe may be interrupted. Underside black with yellow spots.
Wings: Wings narrower, base yellowish-brown, tips slightly darkened.
Legs: Yellow with yellow pile. Mid and hind thigh (femora) long, last half of thigh slightly yellowish-red. May or may not have small spines. Feet more reddish. Male legs more orange.
Abdomen: Very long, flattened, black. Segments with very wide wavy yellow bands, interrupted at center. Lower margin of each segment has narrower brownish-yellow wavy band, not interrupted. At tip the brownish-yellow extends up to yellow stripe.
Size: 18 to 21 mm long.
Habitat: Forest edges and meadows.
Food: Flower nectar from a variety of shrubs and like New Jersey Tea Ceanothus, Sumac Rhus, Viburnum, Queen Anne’s Lace.
Flight Time: Mid-July to mid-August.
Life Cycle: Larva live in rot-holes and decaying wood of deciduous trees.
Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairies, Windsor, and Wheatley. Lambton County at northern limit. Rare. Mimics a Yellowjacket Wasp. Milesia virginiensis also found on an old 33 cent postage stamp by U.S. Postal Service October, 1999 by artist Steve Buchanan.
Synonyms: Drury 1773
Musca virginiensis, Milesia ornata, Syrphus trifasciatus, Milesia limbipennis, Sphyxea fulvifrons – All European synonyms.
Illustrations of Exotic Entomology, 1837, Vol. 2 by Drury, pg. 77.
Natural History of New York, 1854, Vol. 5, by Emmons pg. 183.
United States National Museum, 1886, Vol. 31: Syrphidae by Williston, pp. 255 to 256.