Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

Giant Scoliid Wasp

Pygodasis ephippium


A truly monstrous wasp measuring 4 cm in length! This is a Scollid wasp, often called Digger Wasps. They have a characteristically corrugated pattern on the tips of the wings (2nd picture). These are parasitic on Scarab larvae under ground, tunneling down to the larva to lay her egg on its body. Some will make a side chamber to store the larva while her own offspring grows. Because of her size, she must parasitize one of the larger scarab species. She also has enormous mandibles (1st & 5th pictures) for handling the larva underground. This species has two large orange-red bands on the abdomen and is otherwise entirely black. This is the 4th individual I have seen over the past 30 years. These have been reported from the southern US, Mexico, Central America and northern South America ( Family Scoliidae. The genus has been changed from Campsomeris to Pygodasis. See this similar species with a different orange pattern, silver hair and eyes and somewhat smaller at 3 cm, from Veracruz, Mexico (


Flew into our hotel restaurant, semi-rural residential area, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, 2,200 meters.


Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID


Alfonso San
Alfonso San a year ago

On these days I have seen three of them at the same time over the flowers of a moringa tree that I have in my garden, they're so beautiful and impressive because their size and colors. BTW I live in Texcoco city, Mexico, 2,240 m. I took a slow motion video of the wasp flying, I can share it with you by email or messenger

Bernadette S
Bernadette S 2 years ago

Wow! What an interesting spotting!

Spotted by

San Cristóbal, Chiapas, Mexico

Spotted on Feb 21, 2019
Submitted on Mar 22, 2019

Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors
join Project Noah Team

Join the Project Noah Team