Fennel Stories #3 Cuckoo Wasp

Cuckoo Wasp Chrysis angolensis showing abdomen tip with 4 points. September 15, 2017, Leamington, Ontario.

Fennel Stores
#3 Cuckoo Wasp
Chrysis angolensis

Cuckoo Wasp Chrysis angolensis on fennel, September 15, 2017, Leamington, Ontario.
Cuckoo Wasp Chrysis angolensis on fennel, September 15, 2017, Leamington, Ontario.

A dozen Cuckoo Wasps Chrysis angolensis visited the fennel flowers throughout September. Easy to identify, they are the only Cuckoo Wasp with entirely black wings. The last abdominal segment is always darker than the other segments.

 

 

 

Potter Wasp Eumenes fraternus on Tall Boneset, Sept. 05, 2017. Leamington, Ontario.
Potter Wasp Eumenes fraternus on Tall Boneset, Sept. 05, 2017. Leamington, Ontario.

The females have a long egg-layer (ovipositor) that pierces the nest cells of Mud Daubers and Potter Wasps. A few Potter Wasps Eumenes were here earlier in the summer…

 

 

 

 

Black & Yellow Mud Dauber Sceliphron caementarium July 15, 2015, Leamington, Ontario.
Black & Yellow Mud Dauber Sceliphron caementarium July 15, 2015, Leamington, Ontario.

 

 

and a few of the Black and Yellow Mud Daubers Sceliphron caementarium.

 

 

Blue Mud Wasp Chalybion californicum, July 04-15, Leamington, Ontario.
Blue Mud Wasp Chalybion californicum, July 04-15, Leamington, Ontario.

 

The Blue Mud Dauber had several nests under the eaves of the car port. I suspect this Cuckoo Wasp also parasitizes the Blue, given the number present on the fennel. Photos on BugGuide show a Blue Mud Dauber nest with Chrysis angolensis present.

 

 

Blue Mud Wasp Chalybion californicum female vibrating a spider web, hoping the spider will appear. Aug 10, 2006 Wheatley, Ontario.
Blue Mud Wasp Chalybion californicum female vibrating a spider web, hoping the spider will appear. Aug 10, 2006 Wheatley, Ontario.

The Blue often flies right into a spider nest and shakes it, hoping the spider will come out to investigate. Sometimes they look like they’re hanging in mid-air.

Both the Black & Yellow and the Blue Mud Dauber hunt spiders to feed their young, helping to reduce the number of spider webs under the eaves of the house.

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