Subject: Bee on Steroids?
Location: Los Angeles, CA
June 27, 2014 3:10 pm
I saw this bee-hemouth on a flower outside my home here in the Los Angeles area.
It was around 1.5 inches long.
Looks like a bee, but isn’t a bee. Any ideas?
Signature: Just Me
Dear Just Me,
Several years ago we encountered this magnificent species of Scarab Hunter Wasp in Elyria Canyon Park in Northeast Los Angeles and we identified it as a female Campsomeris tolteca. The species exhibits pronounced sexual dimorphism. Both males and females visit flowers, but only the female hunts for Scarab Beetle Grubs to feed her brood. BugGuide states: “According to Nick Fensler: The females Campsomeris as well as other members of the subfamily Campsomerinae are predators on white grubs (Scarabaeidae), using these larvae 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.”. You may also compare your images to these images on BugGuide.
Wow very cool! I think it looks more like the plumipes. Thanks so much!
According to BugGuide, Campsomeris plumipes is not found west of Colorado.