Saturday, 24 October 2015

Day 344 - Extrarodinarily Lovely Ectemnius Lapidarius

Ectemnius lapidarius
Hey everyone, today's Day 344 and quite a while ago, in the lovely warm days at the end of the Summer, when it was more the just 8*C of this morning, I went to one of my favourite places to go for a walk called Silton Forest on the edge of the lovely North York Moors. I always keep my eye out on all of the Umbelliferous Plants, especially for hoverflies, beetles and wasps. Now, I used to be a little afraid of wasps but all my nature hunting has meant I've got lots closer to all sorts of bugs and learnt about them so I sort of lost that fear so I've managed to get some nice close up pictures.

Well, today's post is about the Ectemnius lapidarius. I haven't found a common name for them. This is the best guess for this Wasp and I even got help with ID from a great entomologist Dr. Roger Key. Apparently, to be sure, you need to look very closely at bits of them with strong magnifying glasses or microscopes. Ectemnius lapidarius is most likely though as it's most common of the wasps it could be.

Sharing the head of an Angelica plant with
a Tapered Drone Fly
So, here are the facts:

  • Firstly, these aren't the normal type of wasp, they are what's called a Solitary Wasp.
Zoom in to see this one covered in pollen
  • They like to live in places like 'woodland rides' - I like that term it describes the lovely big wide paths through Silton Forest.
  • You will also find them in woodland clearings, wetlands, open countryside and the coast. You might find them in urban locations but not so often as the other habitats.
  • Adults feed mostly on Umbellifers like Angelica, Hogweed, Hedge Parsley, Rough Chervil amongst others.
  • They like area's where they can catch medium sized flies and hoverflies. They don't eat these but store them in their nests where they lay their eggs ready for the larvae to eat when they hatch.
  • Nests are made in dead wood like tree stumps, fence posts, small bits of wood and some plant stems.
  • Now looking at those few facts I'm not surprised I found this critter at the Siltons as it describes the habitat very well.
It had a really good feed.
  • They are quite a small wasp, Females being smaller than Males. Males are 9 - 12mm long and Females are 7 - 11mm.
  • There are not many records of this wasp that I can find, but what I have seen says that they are found mostly in the South of England and East of England (see NBN Trust map)
  • They are a Solitary Wasp meaning that the egg is laid singly and the Wasp lives on its own and when it finds one Male, it mates with it, flies off, makes a nest and lays the eggs with the captured prey
Here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,


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