Megascolia maculata flavifron – Mammoth Wasp (Croatia)

Highlight of my insect finds on holiday.

The mammoth wasp, Megascolia maculata flavifrons, is a very large wasp (the largest in Europe), with the female reaching up to 6 centimetres (2.4 in), whereas the male is smaller. The species can be seen in warm weather, from May to September.

Mammoth wasps are parasitic of the European rhinoceros beetle larva, since the female mammoth wasp stings the larva to paralyze it, and then lays one egg in its outer skin. The egg will then hatch and the mammoth wasp larva will feed on its host, until it is able to build a cocoon and develop into an adult mammoth wasp. It will stay in the cocoon over winter, and will emerge only in spring.