Currently viewing the category: "Scoliid Wasps"
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Scarab Hunter Wasp

Scarab Hunter Wasp

Subject:  Female Scarab Hunter Wasp
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
August 18, 2016 9:30 AM
Just as we were leaving the office today to gawk at the guerilla art Donald Trump sculpture at Wacko (see LA Times or LAist ), we had to make a slight delay to take some images of this gorgeous female Scarab Hunter Wasp,
Campsomeris tolteca, nectaring on the flowering peppermint.  We first identified this species four years ago in Elyria Canyon Park.  Alas, the statue was in for the night, so we will have to return to Wacko during business hours.   Our identification of the female Scarab Hunter Wasp can be verified on BugGuide.

Scarab Hunter Wasp

Scarab Hunter Wasp

Scarab Hunter Wasp

Scarab Hunter Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Walking in Florida Pine Woods
Location: Near US 1 and Old Kings Road
August 8, 2016 12:58 pm
Hi,
I took a photo of this insect on a trail in Flagler County Florida yesterday, Aug 7, late in the day. The location was pine uplands at Hewitt Sawmill historic site. It was longer than an inch, had purplish long wings, made no sound at that time, black long body but not thin, and it had two yellow spots on each side of its abdomen. Its face looks like a giant ant. It was walking slowly across the shell-sand trail. The closest I found online is the Eastern Sawfly, but the markings don’t exactly match up. Could you pinpoint its identity?
thanks!
Signature: Tom Hanson, Palm Coast FL

Scarab Hunter Wasp

Scarab Hunter Wasp

Dear Tom,
This is a Scarab Hunter Wasp, a name that applies to the entire genus
Campsomeris, and your individual is Campsomeris quadrimaculata with the species name of the binomial a reference to the four spots you observed.  You can verify our ID on BugGuide.  According to the genus page on BugGuide:  “According to Nick Fensler: The females Campsomeris as well as other members of the Campsomerinae use white grubs (Scarabaeidae) as food for their young. Unlike sphecids, eumenines, and pompilids these wasps do not appear to have any type of prey transportation and dig to the ground-dwelling beetle larvae, sting it to paralyze it, and then lay an egg. They may dig around the grub to form a small cell. Since they use this nesting strategy they are often seen flying low to the ground (searching) in a figure eight pattern (but the flight pattern gets more erratic when they ‘smell’ something). The adults use nectar as a food source and are common on flowers.”

Way cool!  Thank you.  I hope to see more of these out on my walks (and stay out of their way!), but if I’m with anyone I can now ID it thanks to whatsthatbug!  Best, Tom

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Scoliid wasp?
Location: Salir, Algarve, Portugal
July 28, 2016 9:56 am
I spotted this huge specimen in my garden in the Algarve, Portugal. It was quite docile and tried to hide underneath my shower decking. It was about 5-6 cm in size and as you can see from the picture is black with four almost square yellow panels on the lower half. My Portuguese friends are saying it’s a bee killer, is this true? I’ve done some image searches and it looks like a Scoliid wasp, although I’m not sure those are native to Southern Europe. Thanks for your help.
Signature: Vincent

Mammoth Wasp

Mammoth Wasp

Dear Vincent,
You are correct that this is a Scoliid Wasp or Mammoth Wasp, most likely
Megascolia maculata AKA Scolia maculata based on this FlickR image.  It is also pictured on iNaturalist.  Your friends are wrong.  Scoliid Wasps do not prey upon bees.  Adults take pollen and nectar from flowers like most wasps, and the female hunts for Scarab Beetle larvae.  Project Noah indicates there are three subspecies and provides this information:  “The larger female (may reach 5.5-6 cm) can be told apart by her yellow head and short antennae. The male has a black head and longer antennae. Both have two yellow bands on their abdomens, which can be divided to form 4 spots as it is shown on the photos. Nevertheless, they hold no harm to humans despite their size, in contrast to common wasps and hornets. Indeed, mammoth wasps do have stings, but not for self-defence or nest protection (in fact, they are solitary wasps). You may see several of these wasps flying around decaying tree stumps, they have a purpose there. They’re searching for larvae of Rhinoceros beetle (lat. Oryctes nasicornis), The female wasp once she has discovered the huge larvae, will sting one to paralyze it and then lay her egg on the outer skin. After hatching, the larvae of the mammoth wasp starts eating its host, till reaches the size it could create a cocoon, where it can safely sleep through all winter. 6 months later, the larvae turns into pupa and after 1 month more, from under the underground emerges newly formed mammoth wasp. The adult once feed on flower nectar.” 

Thank you very much for clearing this up! I’m also happy to hear they feed on the rhinoceros beetle, those were responsible for killing the magnificent palm tree we had in our garden a few years back. I’ll definitely not harm these wasps when I see one in the future. Not that I would harm any creature, great or small :-)
Vincent.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what is this bug ?
Location: valencia Spain
June 17, 2016 6:38 am
I found this morning on pepples in our garden …it is dead….it measures 5 cms.. its has a black body , prominent yellow markings on body and yellow head long brown wings and very hairy black legs… we live in Spain… any ideas??
Many thanks
Signature: Mandy

Mammoth Wasp

Mammoth Wasp

Dear Mandy,
This gorgeous creature is a Mammoth Wasp,
Scolia flavifrons, and in our opinion, they are much prettier alive than dead.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Flower Wasp ID?
Location: Blyth, SA
December 25, 2015 8:13 pm
Can you a specific ID for this wasp. Just turned up 130km north of Adelaide – about 8 of them. Dec 2015. Thanks for your help. Lovely little creature & seems oblivious to us – was burrowng in sand & bark litter.
Signature: Ian Roberts

Blue Flower Wasp

Flower Wasp

Hi Ian,
This is definitely a Flower Wasp or Mammoth Wasp in the family Scoliidae.  It looks very similar to this individual we believe we correctly identified as a Blue Flower Wasp,
Scolia (Discolia) verticalis.  There is a similarly marked individual on Bold Systems, and this FlickR posting from Western Australia looks like your individual, but it is only identified to the genus level.  Bower Bird has a Flower Wasp identified as Laeviscolia frontalis that has the two spots evident on the abdomen of your individual, and an image on Ipernity supports that ID, but another image on Bower Bird does not appear to have the yellow color near the head.  So, we cannot be certain of the species, but we are confident with the family Scoliidae.

Hi Daniel
Thanks for that – nice to have them zipping around.
Regards
Ian Roberts

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Beautiful blue/black wasp
Location: Jamaica
November 29, 2015 9:58 pm
This looks like a Blue Flower Wasp (Scolia soror) which is native to Australia but I’m not sure because I saw it in Jamaica. It also looks similar to Blue Mud Wasp (Chalybion californicum) and Blue Mud Dauber (Chlorion aerarium) and even Great Black Wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus). It doesn’t appear to have a narrow waist from the photos I took. It is so beautiful – I want to post it on our website and would love to know the correct name before posting.
Thank you for your assistance!
Signature: Jean C

Flower Wasp

Flower Wasp

Dear Jean,
We agree with your initial impulse that this is a Flower Wasp in the family Scoliidae, and the Blue Flower Wasp that you cited is a member of a genus also found in the New World.  BugGuide lists five species in North America, and notes that there are seven species reported from North America.  The species on BugGuide that looks the most like your individual is 
Scolia mexicana, which is only listed from Arizona, but if its range extends into Mexico and Central America, it might actually be your species.  Alas, the best we are able to do is speculate that it is a Scolia species.

Flower Wasp

Flower Wasp

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for your reply!  I really appreciate it.  I thought getting an answer was a long shot but figured it was worth a try. I feel more confident now that I at least know the species.
Jean

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination