This fly landed on a hiking pole, making for a perfect photo op! The Western Pond Fly is a type of flower fly (family Syrphidae) that does a pretty convincing job of mimicking a yellowjacket, down to the wings. Yellowjackets and their relatives (subfamily Vespinae) fold their wings longitudinally at rest. You’ll notice the front margin of each of the fly’s wings is darkly pigmented to imitate this fold. These flies are harmless and are valuable pollinators of flowers. Larvae are scavengers in soggy habitats. This species ranges throughout western North America in forests (AK-CA to sw. SK-UT).

Photo by: Kelly Dix on 7/6/21 near Skalkaho Pass, MT