Milesia virginiensis

Wasp-mimic Flower Fly
Milesia virginiensis

Wasp-mimic Flower Fly Milesia virginiensis female on Queen Anne's Lace. August 10, 2013 Wheatley, Ontario.
Wasp-mimic Flower Fly Milesia virginiensis female on Queen Anne’s Lace. August 10, 2013 Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head:
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.

Wasp-mimic Flower Fly Milesia virginiensis female on Queen Anne's Lace. August 10, 2013 Wheatley, Ontario.
Wasp-mimic Flower Fly Milesia virginiensis female on Queen Anne’s Lace. August 10, 2013 Wheatley, Ontario.

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.

Wasp-mimic Flower Fly Milesia virginiensis female on Queen Anne's Lace. August 10, 2013 Wheatley, Ontario.
Wasp-mimic Flower Fly Milesia virginiensis female on Queen Anne’s Lace. August 10, 2013 Wheatley, Ontario.

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.

References:
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.

Types: Unknown.

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