"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626


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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Ruby-tailed Jewel Wasp

This is a first for me! I have been so hoping to see one of these exquisite little wasps. It was one of those occasions when you glance out of the window, see a little metallic shine on a leaf and think it might just be a fly. Then you realise it has some astonishing colours and rush around the house to find the camera .. hoping it will not fly away.

There are many very beautiful photos on the internet where you can see these wasps in much more detail but this is my photo, on a leaf of the hyssop which is growing just outside my work room door.

It is Chrysis ignita a cuckoo wasp which lays its eggs in the nests of other solitary bees and wasps. Read more about it here : http://www.uksafari.com/rubytailed.htm

wasp7 bg wasp6 bg

Their colours are stunning and change with the angle of the light, and the surface of their body is slightly pitted when you see them in close up.

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I painted an American version back in the days when I didn’t know my sweat bees from my wasps. It arrived in the same box as a few little honey bee models for my very first bee painting. They had come from Joe, my Florida beekeeping friend back in August 2009. At the time I had no idea what it was. I wonder if I might find a defunct little UK wasp to paint. It would make a good companion.

Chrysididae wasp

The USA Chrysididae wasp from 2009


Anonymous said...

Your garden must really be coming along, you are finding some great bees. I believe I've seen the USA Chrysididae here in Florida. I'll have to go through my unidentified pics.

Anonymous said...

Just looked Chrysididae up. They are a cuckoo wasp, laying their eggs in the nests of other wasps and bees.

Emily said...

Fascinating, I didn't realise such bright little beauties lived in the UK.

David The Good said...