Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Day 348 - Wonderfully Whopping Wood Wasp

Wood wasp (Urocerus gigas)
Hey everyone today's Day 348 and a while ago, I was out at Nosterfield, but today's post isn't about what we saw there. Lightwater Valley (an amusement park well known in the North) is not too far away so we thought we would go out and play a little bit of mini-golf. But I keep my watchful eye out for nature wherever I am and me an my Dad saw this absolutely huge wasp flying around. As, it was a) a wasp and b) huge I got my Dad to take these pictures. Sadly we only got it with a phone as we didn't have the camera with us at that moment in time. Yes, today's post is about the Wood Wasp.

So, here are the facts:

  • Funnily, the golf that we were doing was pre-historic themed and when I first saw the wasp I thought it was one of those 2 metre long pre-historic dragonflies it was so big!
  • After we had taken the photograph of it, we saw that it didn't have a sting. I guess if you're that big you don't really need one!
  • Adding on to this, sometimes it does have something that looks like an absolutely huge sting but it's actually only females that do and its just a large ovipositor that they use for laying eggs in wood.
It was enormous, this post was as thick as my leg!
  • Well, to the people that discovered it apparently looked like a Horn which is why they granted it the name 'Horntail'. As well as the Giant Wood Wasp.
  • They are found mostly in areas where there are pine or coniferous woodlands as that's where the females lay their eggs.
  • They lay them in the wood and the larvae spend up to five years developing.
  • They are found from May to October but most commonly they are found all of Spring from May to August inclusive.
  • Now, I keep going on about how big they are without actually saying how big they are. Well, The Wildlife Trusts say that they are 7cm in length.
  • Despite being big and scary looking with the 'fake' big sting, they are in fact harmless.
  • They are one of the rarer species that I have covered with only about 100 records across the UK. 
  • Like the last species that I covered, they don't seem to be affected by how Northerly or Easterly you are, they're found rarely basically everywhere. Including Ireland.
Here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,


1 comment:

  1. Wow, I didn't realise they're so big! Amazing find Zach. - Tasha