04 September 2012

Greater (Horntail) Wood Wasp

This impressive specimen was brought to me by Mike Thornton who found it in his sister's garden in Pontypridd. It's a species I have rarely seen and am curious to know if others have seen it locally. Neither of the tail projections sting, the long one being used for inserting eggs in wood, upon which the larvae feed.
ovipositor detail (not sure what the upper
projection is for - possibly copulation?)
Greater Horntail Wasp (Urocerus gigas) belongs to the suborder Symphyta (wood wasps and sawflies) and at around 40mm long is one of our largest insects. The colouring is presumably mimicry of the hornet, which no doubt offers it good protection.


Mark Hipkin said...

Very nice photos and impressive beast!

Clive Ellis said...

We come across these on timber frame sites.The last was at Llanharan.

Barry Stewart said...

Clive, for fear of sounding stupid, what is a timber frame site? And don say a site that sells timber frames! ;)

Adam mantell said...

I may know what Clive means... I have heard that significant numbers of these (and other wasps) can emerge from cut and sawn timber once larvae has finished pupating. Hence the timber frames - probably for houses?

Incidentally my brother who used to be a forester encountered these wasps quite frequently in Devon. His boots were often covered in sap (which could be an attractant possibly?), and I'm told it is quite disconcerting to find them attempting to oviposit into the leather of your boot whilst simultaneously attempting to cut down a tree!


Anonymous said...

Having a new garden fence put in and I thought it was a butterfly at a distance until I googled it and read it is a wood wasp. Blackpool. Lancashire.