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Wasp  Ruby-tailed Wasp

Ruby-tailed wasp - Photo  Copyright 2008 Dean Stables
Photo: Dean Stables

Latin name:
Chrysis ignita

Size: Length approx 12mm

Found throughout the UK.

Months seen: April to September.

Habitat: Heathlands and gardens.

Food: Nectar.

Special features: There are several species of Ruby-tailed wasps in the UK. This is the one most frequently seen. The head and thorax are greenish-blue, and the abdomen is red. As they usually appear in bright sunlight the vivid metallic colours of their bodies appear very jewel-like.

Ruby-tailed wasps lay their eggs in the nests of other solitary bees and wasps. When the eggs hatch, the larvae eat the bee or wasp larvae. For this reason they are sometimes called 'Cuckoo Wasps'.

They do possess a stinging organ although there is no venom and they are harmless.

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UK Safari Creepy-crawlies Section

  2008 G. Bradley. All Rights Reserved