Wing length 6.5 to 8mm. The males tend to be entirely black except for two narrow yellow bars on tergite 2. The hind femora are slightly swollen and the hairs on the face and abdomen are black. There is a slight darkening of part of the wings. The females have better defined yellow spots on tergite 2 and more conspicuous wing clouds. This species is very variable in size and often the spots are missing. It is not certain whether this is one species or a species complex.
Woodland edge, hedgerows where the adults often visit flowers such as Hogweed, or bask on leaves. The larvae feed on aphids on the ground layer or amongst bushes and especially aphids on Hogweed.
Status and distribution
Common and widespread throughout southern Britain, less common further north. Not well recorded in Nottinghamshire and recorded twice at Netherfield Lagoons.
Best time to see
April to September.