One of the ‘big five’ soldierflies (4 Stratiomys species plus Odontomyia ornata). Easily distinguished from O. ornata by the long antennae. It is one of two boldy marked yellow and black Stratiomys species with pale tibiae and an extensively yellow underside to the abdomen. The other species is S. chamaeleon which has a pair of broad, wedge-shaped yellow spots on the sides of tergite 3 and and the yellow mark of the scutellum with an angular fore margin (the best field clue as the folded wings can obscure the abdominal markings).
This is our most widespread Stratiomys and certainly the most frequent inland, though is nevertheless localised and scarce in most districts. It is associated with a variety of non-brackish wetland types, especially seepage-fed marsh, the margins of waterbodies, fens, wet meadows, ditches, the wet parts of woods; also occasionally the perched pools of soft-rock cliffs or landward side of grazing marsh (which can occasionally result in the presence of three Stratiomys species at one site!). Most sites are characterised by good water-quality.