Currently viewing the category: "Cuckoo Wasps"

Subject: Beetle with metallic pink abdomen, green head
Location: Minsmere, Suffolk, UK
August 11, 2012 5:40 pm
I wonder if you can help here. The beetle was small and fast and the photo is poor, but I can’t find any pink and green beetles like it. Seen 11 Aug 2012, RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk, UK … sunny afternoon on a tank trap block (concrete) between beach and marsh. I took the photo.
Signature: CGill

Ruby Tail Wasp

Dear CGill,
This is not a beetle, but rather a Hymenopteran, the insect order that contains bees, ants and wasps.  After some careful internet research, we found an insect with this particular color pattern on the Heathland Solitary Wasps website, and it is called the Ruby Tail Wasp,
Hedychridium roseum.  The Bees, Wasps & Ants Recording Society (BWARS) website has a map an Suffolk is included in the limited UK range of the Ruby Tail Wasp.  We learned on Chrysis.net that the Ruby Tail Wasp is classified as a Cuckoo Wasp, meaning that instead of providing for its own young, the female Ruby Tail Wasp lays an egg in the nest of another Hymenopteran and the developing larva eats the food that was collected for the host species larva.

Thank you, Daniel, so much for all this extremely interesting and helpful information. I’m only sorry the photo was so poor … it was a rush to get a pic. at all as the creature was scuttling towards a dark crevice in the concrete clock at break neck speed!
Caroline

Brilliant Blue Bugger
Location: North San Francisco Bay Area, Inland
January 27, 2012 9:48 pm
I’ve searched your site, and the net in general, but haven’t found a good match for the subject of my attached image, recorded May 7, 2011 in mid-afternoon. Taken in macro mode, when viewing ”actual pixels” the effective magnification is about 4.5X. Body length, excluding legs, is 13/32” ±1/32, or about O.40”.
Our photogenic friend’s carapace has an irridescent metallic sheen that can range from royal blue to teal to green. Here it appears to be royal blue with light blue speckles on the top, while it’s lower hemisphere is teal. At other angles the body appeared green and the tail blue.
Might this be a wasp of some sort?
Signature: zzwerzy

Cuckoo Wasp

Dear zzwerzy,
While it is an easy enough matter for us to identify your lovely insect as a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae, it is quite another matter for us to be able to provide you with a species identification.  According to BugGuide:  “they are most diverse in the west: 166 spp. are found in CA alone (10% of all our spp. are CA endemics)” and we haven’t the necessary skills to differentiate between the species. 
BugGuide also states:  “The name ‘cuckoo wasp’ refers to the fact that these wasps lay eggs in the nests of unsuspecting hosts”  and clarifies that with this information:  “Parasitoids feed on the larva of the host and cleptoparasites ‘steal’ the host’s food. The food-stealing behavior of cleptoparasite species resembles that of the cuckoo bird and gave rise to the cuckoo wasp’s name. Hosts of parasitoid species include bees, sphecid wasps, potter wasps, sawflies, silk moths, and the eggs of stick insects. Cleptoparasitic species feed on provisions of sphecid wasp nests, which may include dead spiders, true bugs, aphids, or thrips.” BugGuide describes Cuckoo Wasps as having a “Body metallic blue or green, usually with coarse sculpturing (many pits in surface).” 

A Bug I Photographed With Outstanding Coloring!
Location: Southern New Jersey
September 26, 2011 9:24 am
Hey bugman,
First time on your site. I actually have a bit of a bug phobia, but I got over my fears to shot this little guy, specifically because his coloring was so amazing! FYI I did not enhance his colors in any way. Wit htat said, I’d love to know what he is since I’ve never seen anything like this before! He was tiny… probably half the size of my pinky fingernail.
Thanks,
Signature: Jeff D.

Cuckoo Wasp

Hi Jeff,
This is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae.  We agree the colors are magnificent.  Cuckoo Wasps have the ability to curl up into a ball to defend themselves.  Here is some information from BugGuide:  “Most species are external parasites of wasp and bee larvae … Some species are parasitoids and others cleptoparasites. Either way the host larva dies. … Parasitoids feed on the larva of the host and cleptoparasites ‘steal’ the host’s food. The food-stealing behavior of cleptoparasite species resembles that of the cuckoo bird and gave rise to the cuckoo wasp’s name. Hosts of parasitoid species include bees, sphecid wasps, potter wasps, sawflies, silk moths, and the eggs of stick insects. Cleptoparasitic species feed on provisions of sphecid wasp nests, which may include dead spiders, true bugs, aphids, or thrips. … The female sting has been modified into an egg-laying tube with highly reduced valvulae and poison gland. As a result, unlike most other aculeates, chrysidids cannot sting and can be easily handled.” 

Metallic bee or wasp
Location: Northeast Louisiana
June 20, 2011 10:54 pm
Bugman, In 2010 I was stung by a stunningly beautiful bee or wasp. In reflex I knocked it off my arm. Naturally it was stunned. I was able to capture it and used a lasso technique to photograph it; afterwards I let it go out into the wild blue yonder. It reminded me of a sweatbee, but larger, more the size of a honeybee. Outer shell very hard and glassy. Brilliant metallic peacock blue with translucent black wings. Antennae did not curl like you see in some species. It’s definitely not a cricket killer, orchard bee. I’ve compared every detail. I think it’s too big to be some sort of sweat bee. Hope you can identify it.
Signature: BugBunny

Cuckoo Wasp

Dear BugBunny,
This colorful creature is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae.  We are very intrigued with your lasso technique for photography.  It appears that dental floss or thread was used to keep the Cuckoo Wasp from flying away before the photo session was complete.  Cuckoo Wasps, according to BugGuide, as “Parasitoids feed on the larva of the host and cleptoparasites ‘steal’ the host’s food. The food-stealing behavior of cleptoparasite species resembles that of the cuckoo bird and gave rise to the cuckoo wasp’s name. Hosts of parasitoid species include bees, sphecid wasps, potter wasps, sawflies, silk moths, and the eggs of stick insects. Cleptoparasitic species feed on provisions of sphecid wasp nests, which may include dead spiders, true bugs, aphids, or thrips.”  BugGuide also notes:  “According to Kimsey (2)
: ‘The female sting has been modified into an egg-laying tube with highly reduced valvulae and poison gland. As a result, unlike most other aculeates, chrysidids cannot sting, and they can be easily handled whether male or female’.”  That information contradicts your personal experience that you were stung. Perhaps you were really bitten as it appears that Cuckoo Wasps have well developed mandibles.

Cuckoo Wasp

Daniel, I had already found the photos on BugGuide of the Cuckoo Wasp, when I was holding my wasp in my hand.  I was able to compare them carefully, and I didn’t believe it to be the same wasp.  My wasp was bluer in tone and did not have the hair or pitted (bubblely?) shell that the Cuckoo photos seem to show.  Mine was extremely slick or glassy feeling.  The body wasn’t as thick looking as the Cuckoo (more streamlined).  As for the sting, maybe it was a “pinch”, because it certainly didn’t hurt or throb afterwards, but it looked liked it had a stinger and I noticed it because of the pain (minor) on my arm.  The lasso was made with jeweler’s wire, which is thin as thread and pliable.  It was fairly easy to wrap around his body and then unwrap.  This must be a huge family of wasps, in all my searching of images on the internet, I haven’t found one that looked like mine.  It is a beautiful creature though, it seemed to me to be a fantasy model of a transformer wasp.

Since we have no entomologists on staff, we may be wrong.

Delightful insect!
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
March 6, 2011 1:53 pm
Hello!
I found this little guy in our central Virginia windowsill one morning. I’ve seen a lot of bugs, but I’ve never seen one like this one before. I’m not sure if it’s a wasp or some type of fly. It was only about 1/4 of an inch when all curled up. The wings were iridescent purple on the back, which unfortunately didn’t show through on the pictures. I left him unattended, and unfortunately during that time, my mom found him and, not realizing how cool I thought he was, she threw him in the garbage. I did get a few fairly good pictures before then, thankfully. Anyway, I’d love some help in identifying it. I’ve browsed whatsthatbug many times in the past, and can’t remember seeing a match. Thanks for your help!
Signature: Jessica

Cuckoo Wasp

Hi Jessica,
This jewel like beauty is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae which you may verify on Bugguide.  According to BugGuide:  “Scientific name is from Greek, chryso, meaning ‘gold’, referring to the metallic golden coloration of some species. The name ‘cuckoo wasp’ is attributed to the fact that this insect, like the cuckoo bird, lays her eggs in the nest of an unsuspecting host.”

Can you tell me what this is?
Location: Australia, NSW, Western Sydney area.
February 5, 2011 11:22 pm
Hi bugman, I found this bug in my laundry about 2 weeks ago. I put it into a bug-catcher to get it out of my laundry and so that I could let my son have a good look at it and then I was going to let it go. It was dead when I got up the next morning and looked like this (see photos). It is summer here at the moment and been particularly warm between 36-40 degrees centigrade/celcius. I hope you can help. I thank you in advance 🙂
Signature: Not sure what this means?

Cuckoo Wasp

Dear Not sure what this means?
This sure appears to be a Cuckoo Wasp, possibly the Large Cuckoo Wasp,
Stilbum cyanurum, which we located on the Brisbane Insect website.  According to the Brisbane Insect website:  “The adult Cuckoo Wasp’s back is well armored and with abdomen concave beneath. When disturbed, it curl up into a ball. This is a defense behavior against the attack by angry nest host.”  Perhaps your individual rolled into a ball in self defense before it died.  Though it was not intentional on your part, keeping an insect in a confined container and then finding it dead might constitute Unnecessary Carnage.