Scoliid Wasps are large, hairy, and colorful. These wasps have stingers, which they use to paralyze the larvae of Scarab beetles. While there are only a few species in this family that occur in Illinois, they are avid seekers of flower nectar.
Evolution and Systematics
The wing of the giant wasp produces iridescence due to a simple interference filter.
"We have shown that the iridescence of the wings of Megascolia procer javanensis can be reasonably well understood as resulting from the interference of light in a thin optical chitin layer covering a chitin-melanin absorbing structure...The black background defined by this chitin-melanin structure allows for a particularly highly visible structural blue-green coloration, generated by an extremely simple device, using a minimal number of interfering waves: a constant-thickness overlayer covering all four wings. This is among the most elementary interference filters and, in spite of its simplicity, it turns out to be very effective." (Sarrazin et al. 2008:5)
"The wings of the giant wasp Megascolia procer javanensis are opaque and iridescent...the structure responsible for the iridescence is a single homogeneous transparent chitin layer covering the whole surface of each wing. The opacity is essentially due to the presence of melanin in the stratified medium which forms the mechanical core of the wing." (Sarrazin et al. 2008:1)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Sarrazin M; Vigneron JP; Welch V; Rassart M. Nanomorphology of the blue iridescent wings of a giant tropical wasp Megascolia procer javanensis (Hymenoptera). Physical review E. 78(051902): 1-5.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:206
Specimens with Barcodes:180
Species With Barcodes:26
The Scoliidae, the scoliid wasps, are a family of about 560 wasps found worldwide. They tend to be black, often marked with yellow or orange, and their wing tips are distinctively corrugated. Males are more slender and elongated than females, with significantly longer antennae, but the sexual dimorphism is not as apparent as in the Tiphiidae, a closely related family.
Scoliid wasps are solitary parasitoids of scarab beetle larvae. Female scoliids burrow into the ground in search of these larvae and then use their sting to paralyze them. They will sometimes excavate a chamber and move the paralyzed beetle larva into it before depositing an egg. Scoliid wasps act as important biocontrol agents, as many of the beetles they parasitize are pests, including the Japanese beetle. Male scoliids patrol territories, ready to mate with females emerging from the ground. Adult wasps may be minor pollinators of some plants and can he found on many wildflowers in the late summer.
Scoliidae also has at least one species known to engage in pseudocopulation with an orchid. Flowers of the Geoblasta pennicillata orchid in subtropical South America resemble female Campsomeris bistrimacula wasps, tricking males into attempting to mate and, in the process, provide pollination.
There are about 20 species in North America. Species include:
- Campsomeriella annulata (Fabricius 1793)
- Campsomeris completa (Rohwer 1927)
- Campsomeris ephippium (Say 1837)
- Campsomeris fulvohirta (Cresson 1865)
- Campsomeris limos (Burmeister 1853)
- Campsomeris pilipes (Saussure 1858)
- Campsomeris plumipes (Drury 1770)
- Campsomeris quadrimaculata (Fabricus 1775)
- Campsomeris tolteca (Saussure 1857)
- Campsomeris trifasciata (Fabricius 1793)
- Crioscolia alcione (Banks 1917)
- Crioscolia flammicoma (Bradley 1928)
- Micromeriella marginella (Klug 1810)
- Scolia bicincta (Fabricius 1775) – double-banded scoliid
- Scolia bifasciata (Swederus 1787)
- Scolia consors(Saussure 1863)
- Scolia dubia (Say 1837) – blue-winged wasp
- Scolia guttata (Burmeister 1853)
- Scolia mexicana (Saussure 1858)
- Scolia nobilitata (Fabricius 1805)
- Trielis octomaculata (Say 1823)
- Trielis pollenifera (Viereck 1906)
- Triscolia ardens (Smith 1855)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Scoliidae.|
- "Full list of Scoliidae and their Genus (German)". Retrieved 2014-06-24.
- "NOMINA INSECTA NEARCTICA". Retrieved 2011-10-10.
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