A generally scarce species although perhaps especially prone to under-recording through its secretive and elusive nature. It is essentially a southern species, although an old record for ‘Bridgenorth’ (Saunders 1896) may refer to Shropshire.
Status (in Britain only)
The species is not listed in the Red Data Book (Shirt 1987), but is recognised as a Nationally Notable (Nb) species in Falk (1991).
The wasp tends to inhabit woodland, especially that with streams and marshy areas which provide wet mud and clay for nesting materials.
Apparently single-brooded; May to September.
These are most frequently spiders in the family Clubionidae, but there are other records for gnaphosids, salticids, agelenids, thomisids, lycosids, segestriids and anyphaenids.
The nesting behaviour (which is summarised by Richards and Hamm (1939) and Day (1988)) is rather more complex than that of most pompilids and demonstrates tremendous versatility on the part of the female. The nests are built in cavities in a great variety of situations, non-British reports citing nests beneath stones, in stone walls, in tree stumps (often in old beetle burrows), under bark and in crevices of tree trunks, in empty galls of cynipid wasps, in empty burrows of earthworms or cicadas, in old snail shells, in beehives, in an old cloth in a garden, behind a door frame, in a loft and in an old mirror in a garden. The nests may sometimes be mixed with those of other aculeates such as Anthophora bees and Ancistrocerus wasps and, indeed, A. carbonarius may use old nest holes of these species. Females construct small, barrel-shaped cells which are laid on their side. These are manufactured from small pellets of clay obtained from damp areas, such as river banks or beneath stones, and carried to the nest site between the mandibles and a group of specialised hairs on the basal mouthparts. Water is also collected separately, probably to aid nest building. Completed nests may consist of ten or more cells (as many as 34 on one occasion) arranged in a block. These nest cells, constructed prior to prey capture, are stocked with a wide variety of spiders obtained from amongst vegetation. One prey item is placed in each cell. The wasp may fly with small prey individuals (unusual in the Pompilidae where the prey is usually dragged along the ground).
These wasps may occasionally visit flowers such as spurge (G M Spooner, unpublished).
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My best photo yet of a Hedychrum species of ruby tailed wasp.
Lindenius sp of wasp with its oversized head
In Britain, this species is confined to southern England, East Anglia and the Channel Islands.
Status (in Britain only)
Not listed in Shirt (1987) or Falk (1991); the restricted range suggests revision of its status is needed. Nevertheless, this is a common wasp over much of its range.
Mainly sandy localities, such as inland heaths and coastal dunes. It can also be found in dry clay banks in woodland clearings (M Edwards, pers. comm.).
Univoltine; June to August.
Nymphs of pentatomid bugs (Heteroptera).
According to Tsuneki (cited by Lomholdt, 1975-76) the nest is a burrow about 10 cm long terminating in one to three cells, which are placed one after the other as simple dilations of the tunnel. There are sometimes side branches, so that the nest may have as many as 12 cells. The female wasp flies the prey to the nest, where it is stored near the sealed nest entrance until there is sufficient to provision several cells. The egg is laid on the first stored bug in each cell. The larva develops in three days in Korea, where there may be more than one generation per year. In British and Scandinavian populations the species probably overwinters in the pupal stage (Lomholdt, 1975-76). Males guard small stones or twigs lying on the ground, making inspection flights every few minutes and returning to the same spot. They turn to face anything new in their field of vision (M Edwards, pers. comm.).
The species can sometimes be found in numbers on flowers of umbellifers (Richards, 1980), including wild carrot (S P M Roberts, pers. comm.).
The chrysidid wasp Hedychridium roseum is a known parasitoid or cleptoparasite
Hedychrum sp of ruby tailed wasp there are two types of Hedychrum which can only be told apart under a microscope.
Found in open sandy areas associated with the nesting habitat of its host (see below). Present on inland sandy areas including lowland heaths, and coastal sandy areas.
Probably univoltine; July and August.
Wild carrot (Daucus carota), sheep’s-bit (Jasione montana) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium).
No information available.
The hosts of this species are the Crabronid wasps Astata boops (see Map 083), Tachysphex pompiliformis (see Map 087) and Dienoplus tumidus (Morgan, 1984, as Gorytes tumidus). However, the distribution of A. boops and H. roseum are so similar in England that A. boops would seem to be the main, or even the only, host. For further information see H. ardens.
Another type of velvet ant