Symphyta Gallery

Deb's image: Argiope bruennichi. Link to home page Web

Copyright © 2001–2011 D R Allan

Urocerus gigas (Horntail / Wood Wasp) female — (Family: Symphyta)

Photograph © Mark Lester 2001 — Wasash Common, Hampshire, UK, 14-Aug-2001

Wood Wasp. Link to next page

A wild time was had by our BTCV¹ group on this day, (loud) calls of 'What is it?', 'Aargh! it's not getting me' (whilst running backwards) and 'Get the camera' were heard; work was abandoned.

The excitement was caused by the arrival of a large female Horntail (or Wood Wasp) on the site at Warsash Common in Hampshire. The common names are a little misleading, as it is really a sawfly (Symphyta). The pine fence-posts which we were erecting on the site seemed to be the attraction, Horntails have a very long ovipositor which is used to lay eggs in timber, and they apparently prefer pine, which is what our fence-posts were.

The one in the picture thoroughly investigated the posts on the van, but finally settled on one of the newly-erected posts, where it was joined by a second of these imposing insects. Despite their large size - the bodies must have been 4cm or more in length - they were quite peacable, and seemed oblivious to the people and cameras; intent on finding the right spot to lay their eggs.

Many thanks to Fareham Countryside Ranger, Mark Lester, for this image.


image: Horntail / Wood Wasp. Link to next page
Dorsal view of female Wood Wasp showing ovipositor © D.R. Allan 2001
Photograph — Warsash, 14-Aug-2001
image: Horntail / Wood Wasp. Link to next page Lateral view of female Horntail showing ovipositor © D.R. Allan 2001
Photograph — Warsash, 14-Aug-2001

¹ Find out more about BTCV


Home & Galleries  <>  Contents  <>  Index  <>  Contact me