Sighting

Gordon Claridge 31 Mar 2016

Small Cuckoo Wasp - Praestochrysis lusca

Photo 1

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Sighted 18 Mar 2016
12 Outlook Cres, Vinegar Hill QLD 4343, Australia

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Identifications

  • Gordon Claridge 31 March 2016
    Praestochrysis lusca
    (species)
    Taxonomy: Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Hymenoptera: Chrysididae: Praestochrysis: lusca
    Common Names: Parasitic wasp, cuckoo wasps
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Notes

  • Gordon Claridge 31 March 2016
    Tagged With cuckoo wasp host "mud wasp
    Gordon Claridge says

    My wife had a stack of small bases for plant pots, and somehow after a mud wasp had finished building its nests the stack was moved so that there was no way in or out of this particular base. Over time, a mud wasp and two Cuckoo Wasps hatched out of these four nests (Photo 2) but could not escape now closed-off pot base. When the stack was taken apart we found this rather macabre diorama with the opened nests and two hatched but dead Cuckoo Wasps and a hatched and dead mud wasp.    I think it is possible to see which nest the mud wasp came out of - the one with the larger hole (Photo 3). The Cuckoo Wasps (Photo 1) are both Praestochrysis lusca (see http://www.bowerbird.org.au/observations/57643). The mud wasp (Photo 4) is the Vase-cell Mud-dauber Wasp Sceliphron formosum - see http://www.bowerbird.org.au/observations/60033 for what it looked like after I’d spent some time cleaning it up. It’s hard to imagine a better illustration of the elements of the relationship between this species of cuckoo wasp and mud wasp. There’s more to the story. With the pot base still sitting on the table where I’d been doing the photography, the next day Hanneke noticed something on the tablecloth - another Cuckoo Wasp, but without its head (Photo 5).  We checked that all the former CWs were still where they should be and this was definitely a new one. The only explanation we can think of is that one of the many Dtella geckoes that constantly prowl in the house (and poop everywhere) had caught a CW and dropped it from the ceiling.

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