Cast your peepers over this little gem! Gem being the operative word for Chrysis angustula a species of Ruby-tailed Wasp. This particular one is found across much of Europe and we get to see a fair number of them here in Turkey – if we look carefully because they are pretty small at about a centimetre in length. Throw in the ‘stinger’ and you can add half as much again! Those of you in the UK who go looking will find C ignita which is a little less spectacular in colouring. This specimen was found bereft of life on the windowsill so was easy to photograph – just look at those amazing colours, almost enough to make you believe in ‘Intelligent Design’ if you didn’t know better!
The glittering, metallic Ruby-tailed Wasp is one of many species of solitary bee and wasp that can be spotted in a variety of habitat from walls to sandy quarries, rocky outcrops to tree trunks. These insects do not live in colonies like Honey Bees; usually solitary females will build a nest by herself, stock it with pollen and lay an egg within each cell she has created. However, the adults of the Ruby-tailed Wasp are a little lazier: the females will actually open up a nest to check the size of the pupae inside. When satisfied with the plumpness of the victim they lay their eggs, one to each larvae. They usually choose the nests of other solitary bees and wasps, especially Mason Bees. When the eggs hatch, these larvae eat the larvae of the Mason Bees and develop – this gives the Ruby-tailed Wasp its other name of ‘Cuckoo Wasp’.
This stunning ‘armour-plating’ is thought to have evolved as protection in case they are caught in the act of infanticide/insecticide!
I would have liked to put up more photos but lack of bandwidth is frustrating me. As for the post title – ‘Ruby’ for the wasp; ‘Goodbye’ and ‘Tuesday’ for the fact that I tried to get this up yesterday (Tuesday) but was frustrated by the bandwidth thing and so had to kiss Tuesday goodbye! Seems perfectly logical to me and it’s good for the search engines!
Alan in Okçular