This hoverfly attempts to mimic a wasp and is fairly easy to identify with its bright yellow colour and distinctive dark markings, especially on the thorax which resembles a black skull or death mask. It can grow up to 15mm long.
The rat-tailed larvae live in rotten wood in water-filled holes in trees feeding on bacteria. The adults feed on nectar.
Seen May to October. Found mainly in wooded areas, the adults either sunning on vegetation or feeding on flowers. Abundant and widespread throughout the UK.
Photographs of Dead Head Fly (Myathropa florea), taken August 2016, local canal towpath, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.