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Rubytail wasp - Chrysis ignita
Rubytail wasp - Chrysis ignita

Rubytail wasp
The rubytail wasp (Chrysis ignita), is a species of the genus Chrysis, in the order Hymenoptera, the suborder Apocrita, the infraorder Aculeata, the superfamily Chrysidoidea, the family cuckoo wasps (Chrysididae), the subfamily Chrysidinae, and the tribe Chrysidini. Chrysis ignita are widespread in the Palaearctic ecozone of Europe and West Asia. In Central Europe, it is the most abundant species of cuckoo wasp.
Rubytail wasp - Side view
Rubytail wasp - Side view
Adult rubytail wasps reach body lengths of 4 - 13 mm. Their size depends on the conditions of development? environmental conditions present during the larval stages. Their bodies are slim and vary in shape. The head and chest (thorax) are bright blue-green in colour. The upper surface has a metallic gold sheen. The upper surface of the abdomen shimmers red, copper red, purple or orange, while the underside is metallic blue or green. 4 teeth are visible at the rear edge of the back plates (tergite) of the last abdominal segment. The tergite has a finer punctation than those of the other segments.
Chrysis ignita in a spider web
Chrysis ignita in a spider web
Rubytail wasps prefer sunny, dry habitats up to high altitudes. They can be found from May to September on warm stone walls, wooden walls, telegraph poles and fences. The adults live off nectar from plants of the parsley family (Umbelliferae).
Rubytail wasp
Rubytail wasp
After mating, the fertilized females lay their eggs separately in each brood cell in the nests of mason bees (Osmia), Anthophora, potter wasps (Eumenidae), pill wasps (Eumenes), Vespidae or sphecoid wasps (Spheciformes). The host insects try to prevent the rubytail wasps from entering their nests, however the latter are not only equipped with a strong chitin-armoured surface, but are also able to roll their bodies and thus significantly can reduce their body surface. This protects them against bites and helps them to penetrate the narrow passages of the host nests. Thus, the rubytail wasp remains largely intact, with the exception of the wings, which sometimes get damaged.
When the rubytail wasplarvae have hatched, they (after having scoured the aisles of the nest of food competitors) feed on the eggs or larvae of their hosts. Rubytail wasp larvae always hatch before their hostís larvae. Approximately 14 days after the rubytail wasp larvae hatch, even the food supplies of their hosts (only insects, no pollen) have been consumed, and they spin a cocoon for themselves in the hostís nest and pupate, either immediately, and then either to fly as another summer generation in the same year, or to overwinter inside of the cocoon. This assumes that the host larvae overwinter as well. The rubytail wasp is able to synchronize its development with the annual cycle of the various host larvae.

Chrysis ignita
Common namesRubytail wasp
German namesFeuergoldwespe, Gemeine Goldwespe, Feuer-Goldwespe
French namesChryside commune
AuthorCarl von Linné (Carl Nilsson Linnæus), 1758

North Europe (British Isles (United Kingdom (Great Britain (England (English Midlands (East Midlands (Leicestershire)), North England (Northwest England (Cheshire))))), Ireland), Germany (West Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia)), Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark), Fennoscandia (Finland), Baltic region (Baltic States (Estonia))), West Europe (Austria, France, Switzerland, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg)), South Europe (Italy, Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal)), Central Europe (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic (Moravia, Bohemia), Slovakia), Southeast Europe (Romania)
Far East (East Asia (Japan, Korea (South Korea)))
North Africa
Macaronesia (Canary Islands)
East Africa
Southern Africa
Republic South Africa
North America

Distribution by Synonymus:
Chrysis scintillans   Paratype, Holotype,,
CountriesAustria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe
Taxonomic statusParatype, Holotype
Links and ReferencesChrysis ignita in
Chrysis ignita in
Chrysis ignita in Wikipedia (English)

Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Rubytail wasp - Chrysis ignita
2. Rubytail wasp - Side view
3. Chrysis ignita in a spider web
4. Rubytail wasp
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Cuckoo Wasp
Chrysis ignita
Rubytail wasp
AuthorLinnaeus, 1758
Chrysis scintillans
Chrysis ignita bischoffi
Chrysis ignita clarinicollis
Chrysis ignita cypriaca
Chrysis ignita ignita
Chrysis ignita impressa
Chrysis ignita melaensis
Chrysis ignita schencki
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