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The Society for the study of flies (Diptera)

Affiliated to the British Entomological and Natural History Society (BENHS)

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#1 2016-11-09 17:31:54

Tony Irwin
DF Members
Name: Tony Irwin
From: Norwich
Registered: 2008-03-01
Posts: 625

Volucella zonaria

Stuart Paston recently (31 Oct) spotted a female Volucella zonaria on bramble close to ivy blossom in Norwich. We have been wondering what she is going to do. Will she overwinter? Will she seek out a late wasp nest in which to lay eggs? Just how is she going to make her life meaningful? We note that late records of this species are not uncommon, but haven't seen any explanation as to what these flies are doing. We'd love to hear whether anyone has any good theories or observations to shed light on this.

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#2 2016-11-10 00:33:44

anymarks
DF Members
Name: Neil Marks
From: Norfolk
Registered: 2009-08-07
Posts: 93

Re: Volucella zonaria

As far as I understand, Tony, the 'normal' sequence is for the Wasp nests to be dying out around now, leaving the hibernating queen. and the Volucella larvae head off to find a pupation site to over-winter.
We had several V.zonaria here at Waxham until the end of October. Given the late flight period surely it would seem a possibility that they are utilizing abandoned nests, containing dead wasp grubs, or at least those with enough dead & dying debris in them to sustain some late egg-laying ? Just a thought

Regards, Neil

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#3 2016-11-10 02:40:30

Tony Irwin
DF Members
Name: Tony Irwin
From: Norwich
Registered: 2008-03-01
Posts: 625

Re: Volucella zonaria

Yes, we speculated on the possibility that these late zonaria might lay in abandoned nests, where the larvae could feed on dead grubs and pupae as well as the rubbish in the bottom of the nest. It would be interesting to have a look in some old nests during the winter, to see what age larvae are present.

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