Currently viewing the category: "Scoliid Wasps"
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Subject: Artists Abraod
Location: Venice, Italy
June 26, 2017 2:23 pm
Dear Bugman,
I have just returned from a trip to Europe to with Sharon Lockhart and a group of Cal Arts students (myself included) where we did little more than look at art. However, at the Venice Biennale, we snuck out the back door of the Polish pavilion and stumbled across a beautiful bug. All being artists, we were immediately drawn to its crazy coloring as well as its large size and couldn’t help but wonder what was it?! Please help us all by answering this burning question.
Also, as an aside Sharon sends her love.
Warm wishes,
Signature: Elizabeth

Female Mammoth Wasp

Dear Elizabeth,
Welcome home.  This gorgeous, not quite real looking, yellow-headed creature is a female Mammoth Wasp, who can be distinguished from the male Mammoth Wasp who has a black head.  The female Mammoth Wasp hunts for the large grubs of Scarab Beetles, laying an egg on each she finds.  The larval Mammoth Wasp feeds upon and eats the Scarab Grub alive.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasps
Location: Costa Blanca , spain
June 4, 2017 11:38 am
Hi guys can you help me identify this wasp found hovering in my garden today.
Signature: Adrian

Male Mammoth Wasp

Dear Adrian,
This is a male Mammoth Wasp,
Megascolia maculata flavifrons, and you can verify our identification by comparing your image to this FlickR image.  According to Project Noah:  “Meeting with this flying monster probably wont let you calm down for a while. 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).”  We have several images of female Mammoth Wasps from Spain in our archives.  Interestingly, we just received a submission of a female Mammoth Wasp from Malta, and we post-dated the submission to go live to our site later in the month when our editorial staff is away on holiday.  We are also going to post-date your submission to go live on the same date.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: identify the insect
Location: Malta
June 4, 2017 8:55 am
Dear Bugman,
I found this insect in the fields of Malta and have looked all over the internet to try and identify it. Could you please help.
Thank you
Signature: S

Mammoth Wasp

Dear S,
This magnificent creature is a Mammoth Wasp,
Megascolis maculata.  According to the Times of Malta:  “The mammoth wasp is the largest wasp you will encounter in Malta or, for that matter, anywhere in Europe. It belongs to a family of wasps known as scolid wasps and, in fact, is also known as the large yellow-banded scolid wasp.”  According to Maltese Nature:  “Only females have stings. The sting is used mainly to paralyse the white larvae of Europe’s largest beetle; the rhinoceros beetle. She then lays a single egg in the larva’s body. When the egg hatches, the wasp larva starts to feed on the larva’s internal tissues. It eventually kills it and continues eating it until nothing is left but an empty skin. When fully grown the larva forms a cocoon and emerges in spring when the air has warmed up sufficiently.  In Maltese the mammoth wasp is known as qerd iż-żaqquq. Qerd is Maltese for destroyer but I could not find the meaning of żaqquq. I assume that as this wasp kills the larvae of the rhinoceros beetle żaqquq could be a lost name for this insect which nowadays is known as buqarn kbir. ”  According to Project Noah:  “Meeting with this flying monster probably wont let you calm down for a while. 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).”  We will be post-dating your submission to go live to our site later in the month while our editorial staff is away on holiday.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for replying back, it was a very interesting read and I am glad I have a name for this beautiful creature.  Kind Regards
S

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasp or Bee
Location: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
April 30, 2017 6:57 pm
I found this insect resting with 4 others in the early morning on Salvia coccinea. I have tried to id it from books and internet, the closest seems to be Scarab Hunter, however I do not believe this is large enough at about 1-1.25 inches.
I photograph insects and id them to post on my Instagram @thedailybug with common and scientific names.
Thank you for your help. Your page is a great assistance.
Signature: Laurel Robertson

Scarab Hunter: Scolia nobilitata

Dear Laurel,
This is indeed a Scarab Hunter Wasp, and we believe we have correctly identified it as
Scolia nobilitata based on this and other BugGuide images.  According to BugGuide, it is a “Small scoliid with dark wings, abdomen dark with 4-6 light yellow/orange spots” and that is consistent with your observations.  The University of Florida has a nice paper on Scoliid Wasps of Florida and they provide this description:  “Variation: Body length is 10 to 15 mm. Segment 1 rarely with faint yellow spots, and those on segments 2 and 3 are sometimes very faint. Segments 4 through 7 may be dark mahogany to black.”  According to BugGuide data, sightings in Florida begin in May, so your individual was a bit early this year.

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Subject: Scarab Hunter Wasp?
Location: Orlando Florida
April 2, 2017 8:41 pm
Not sure of the ID on this one. It almost looked to be gathering pollen which I know wasps don’t do. Has three yellow dots on thorax. Photographed on a purslane flower.
Signature: Cledry

Scarab Hunter Wasp

Dear Cledry,
We agree that this is a Scarab Hunter Wasp in the family Scoliidae.  We believe that based on the resemblance of BugGuide images of
Campsomeris trifasciata to your individual, and by its range which includes Florida, that we have a proper identification.  We would not rule out that it might be Campsomeris plumipes, which is also represented on BugGuide.

Scarab Hunter Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Any idea what this is?
Location: Mpumalanga, South Africa
February 12, 2017 2:37 pm
This wasp? was rather aggressive.
Signature: Yes

Mammoth Wasp

This is a Mammoth Wasp in the family Scoliidae, and though there are several images posted to iSpot of this distinctive Scoliid, it is only identified to the family level.  Female Mammoth Wasps prey upon the grubs of Scarab Beetles which provide food for her developing young.

Mammoth Wasp

Mammoth Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination