georgia's picture

Greater Horntail wasp

Observed: 6th July 2010 By: georgiageorgia’s reputation in Invertebrates
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I observed this huge 4" what i thought was a hornet last June. It flew directly onto my dad when we were out in the garden looking at it. Then it landed and wandered around on the bark mulch while i photographed it. Is it the Asian Hornet or a more local one??? Please comment. Thank you for the ID everyone!

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Greater Horntail Wasp (Urocerus gigas) interacts


Syrphus's picture

This is not a hornet, nor

This is not a hornet, nor even a wasp, though you are not the first to be misled (that is exactly what millennia of evolution intended). It is a harmless sawfly which does not have a sting (the evil-looking spike is the ovipositor). It nests in wood, and unless (as has apparently happened once or twice to some people) it mistakes you for a lump of timber you are quite safe. Even knowing that, it needs a fair bit of mental effort to pick up a black-and-yellow insect of that size.

Although some of the common names (this one and 'Wood Wasp') include 'wasp' it is best to stick to those that don't - Horntail is fine, as well as having the virtue of not being misleading.



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