At first glance, this Meadow Fly could be mistaken for a yellowjacket. Despite its wasp-like markings, there are characteristics that give it away: short antennae, large, forward-facing “fly eyes,” and a thick “waist” where the thorax connects to the abdomen. In contrast, a yellowjacket has long antennae, a narrow “waist,” and their compound eyes are at the side of the head (among other differences). According to the authors of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, “The genus Chrysotoxum includes seven North American species, all similar in appearance and 9-17 mm in length. Larvae are suspected predators that have been found in ant nests, hollow trees, compost heaps, and under rocks.” Adults feed on pollen and nectar.
Size: 9-17 mm in length
Photos by: Kristi DuBois on 6/9/22 in Missoula, MT