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Giant spider wasp

Cryptocheilus bicolor

Description:

Australia has some very large huntsman spiders but they are no match for these wasps. About 45mm long overall we first saw one fly past us two years ago and today we were lucky enough to see one land. The antennae are always busy, strong and flexible and, combined with large rear tarsal spines, enable the wasp to subdue large sparassids.

Habitat:

Like last time we saw one it buried itself deep into the blades of gahnia (a clumping sword grass). Luck I have a very small pocket camera because this was a very tight location. This is in a local nature reserve. (Kings Park)

Notes:

Lifer! These wasps front up to a huntsman face to face and curve the abdomen forwards to sting and paralyse the spider. It is then taken to a prepared hole in the ground and an egg is added and buried. That must make a fine feast for a baby wasp.
order: HYMENOPTERA
superfamily: VESPOIDEA
family: POMPILIDAE
subfamily: Pepsinae
http://bie.ala.org.au/species/urn:lsid:b...
I also wonder if there is any Batesian mimicry going on with a very large fly we found in the same area two years ago. See here http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/160...

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7 Comments

What a beauty! Nice series Mark.

folicallychalled
folicallychalled 7 years ago

Do you think prior to Noah, I would have dived in front of these, just to grab some pics; http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/170... :)

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 years ago

You're right Dave. Come to think of it this whole Project Noah thing has made me very casual with most creatures. I'll probably get stung soon. Taking ice packs next time.

Thats no wasp, thats a fighter jet !

folicallychalled
folicallychalled 7 years ago

I have a few similar in my image collection. Big, but not 45mm - that is huge!

re-Vinny's comment - 3 years ago I would have run a mile and kept on running. I was fairly severely wasp phobic. Now I am very comfortable moving in close for the shot, no matter how big the wasp.

Knowledge is power. Be very wary if you find several wasps of the same species flying in one area. Ask yourself, are these a nesting species. If the answer is yes, move on!

Vinny
Vinny 7 years ago

Nice shots, keen getting that close, I have seen them around before and they are mean looking wasp.
Thinking of Batesian mimicry for the Ti-tree fly, another possibility http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/111...

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 7 years ago

Wonderful shots Mark. I wasn't so lucky. It is a magnificent beast !

Mark Ridgway
Spotted by
Mark Ridgway

Victoria, Australia

Spotted on Jan 10, 2015
Submitted on Jan 10, 2015

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