Graeme's picture

Parasitic Wasp?

Observed: 17th June 2007 By: Graeme
The Anton River Conservation Association
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Parasitic Wasp (Gasteruption jaculator)
Description:

Very thin looking creature with needle like end. Found flying especially near a old tree trunk.Someone took a stab at guessing it as Gasteruption jaculator

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

Jonathan's picture

This is a parasitic wasp and

This is a parasitic wasp and the needle is an 'ovipositor' used for laying eggs in some poor unfortunate insect. (Although actually if there were no parasitic wasps growing food for us would be impossible because these parasites help control the numbers of things like greenfly - though this particular wasp certainly has bigger prey judging by the size of its ovipositor).

Jonathan
University of Edinburgh and Biodiversity Observatory (OU)

Matt Smith's picture

Gasteruption are parasitic on

Gasteruption are parasitic on stem or cavity nesting bees and wasps such as Osmia or Hyleaus, so possibly not as "beneficial" to humans as some other species.

The size of the ovipositor is not related to the size of the prey, but is an indication of how far below the surface the wasp is standing on it may have to reach to get to the cells of the solitary bee it is parasitising.

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Graeme's picture

Thanks for your

Thanks for your contributions.Its a very interesting insect, I described it to one person as a needle with wings.I am so scientific!

I am guessing that the wasps/bees it was parasitic on were using an old birch tree stump

Graeme Davis

Jonathan's picture

Thanks for correcting my

Matt, Thanks for correcting my rather naive interpretation of the significance of the length of the ovipositor. Just goes to show you need to know the name and the biology!

Jonathan
University of Edinburgh and Biodiversity Observatory (OU)

Jonathan's picture

Thanks for correcting my

Thanks for correcting my rather naive interpretation of the significance of the length of the ovipositor. Just goes to show you need to know the name and the biology!

Jonathan
University of Edinburgh and Biodiversity Observatory (OU)

charlieb's picture

Are Gasteruption sp.

Are Gasteruption sp. distinctive enough (compared to other genera in the Gasteruptiidae) to be certain of the genus?

Martin Harvey's picture

Gasteruption

I thought there was only one genus, Gasteruption, in the family Gasteruptiidae? And my understanding is that the general shape of Gasteruption is distinctive, although if I'm wrong about that it would be good to know!

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Entomologist and biological recorder

charlieb's picture

Ah, yes it appears there is

Ah, yes it appears there is only one genus. For some reason I thought that there were more!

Martin Harvey's picture

name

The "gaster" is the abdomen of the wasp, and in this group the gaster sticks up - does the name "Gasteruption" really come from this simple combination of "gaster" and "up", or is there some more sophisticated derivation from Latin or Greek?

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Entomologist and biological recorder