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Yellowjacket Fly (Spilomyia longicornis)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Yellowjacket Fly



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Image Credit: Elizabeth and Desmond L. from London, ON
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Image Credit: Elizabeth and Desmond L. from London, ON
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Easily mistaken for a Yellow Jacket wasp, this species of Flower Fly is a great pollinator and a harmless guest in a flower bed.



Updated: 04/03/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Yellowjacket Fly does not have a stinger, but it looks like it should thanks to the classic bee colors and the striped pattern on its abdomen. The round eyes of the Yellowjacket Fly are also yellow and black with small spots clustered together in a stripe-like formation. The short antennae can help distinguish the fly from a bee or wasp. Sometimes their black front legs stretch forward, giving them appearance of longer antennae which can cause confusion. Yellowjacket Flies also have a yellow ^-shaped mark on the black thorax.

This harmless fly drinks nectar and can be seen visiting asters, goldenrod, and other blooms found in the wild as well as in cultivated gardens. It is active from spring through early autumn in a variety of habitats like parks, backyards, forest edges, and meadows.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Harmless insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Diptera
        Family: Syrphidae
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          Genus: Spilomyia
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            Species: longicornis
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Spilomyia longicornis
Other Name(s): Hornet Fly
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 12mm to 15mm (0.47" to 0.59")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, yellow
Descriptors: bee, yellowjacket, v, wasp, stripes, bands, lines, buzz, flower, flying, harmless
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 12mm and 15mm
Lo: 12mm
Md: 13.5mm
Hi: 15mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Yellowjacket Fly may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Yellowjacket Fly. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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