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Field Digger Wasp - Mellinus arvensis
Field Digger Wasp - Mellinus arvensis

Field digger wasp
The field digger wasp (Mellinus arvensis) is a species in the order hymenopterans (Hymenoptera), the suborder Apocrita, the series Spheciformes, the family Sphecidae, and the genus Mellinus.
The field digger wasp reaches body lengths of 7 - 14 mm. The females, are at least 11 mm in length and are thus significantly larger than the males, whose body length does not exceed 11 mm. The body size is determined primarily by the food supply during the larval period. The male larvae are apparently less dominant than the females when feeding.
The bodies of these insects are black, shiny and oblong. There is a yellow, transverse stripe on the pronotum and the carapace is black without markings. The scutellum bears a yellow patch. The first abdominal segment is stalk-shaped, and the second to fifth segments have a yellow stripe which is non continuous on the fourth segment. The legs are yellow but have a dark base.
Field digger wasps are active from July to October. They prefer to live on roadsides, embankments or sand pits. Sandy or loamy soils, suitable for nesting, are of particular interest. Field digger wasps, and their brood, feed on flies. In addition, they seek out Umbelliferae or animal faeces (eg cow dung). When the field digger wasp sees a fly, it sneaks up, jumps on it and may fall with it to the ground. There, it paralyzes the fly and transports it to the nest. It may also happen that the field digger wasp does not paralyze the caught fly, but ‘kneads’ it until liquid comes from its mouth, which is then eaten by the field digger wasp.
The females lay their eggs in soil nests or ground nests. Either a new nest is dug, at an average depth of 30 cm, or the females look for pre-existing nests from other digger wasps. In the latter case they are not able to distinguish between already occupied and unoccupied nests, which often leads to violent clashes between them and the owners of the nest in the entrance area. The female digs a nest at which the excavated sand or clay is piled around the entrance.
The eggs are deposited singly and the larvae feed separately. The females bring around 6 flies for each larva until they pupate.

Mellinus arvensis
Common namesField Digger Wasp
German namesKotwespe
Dutch namesGewone vliegendoder
Danish namesEfterårsgravehveps
Finnish namesKärpäspistiäinen
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 (Italy Islands (Sicily, Sardinia), North Italy, South Italy), Iberian Peninsula (Portugal)), Central Europe (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic (Moravia, Bohemia))
Far East (East Asia (Taiwan))
Southern Africa
Republic South Africa

Distribution by Synonymus:
Vespa petiolata   Taiwan, Republic South Africa
CountriesAustria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom
Links and ReferencesMellinus arvensis in
Mellinus arvensis in
Mellinus arvensis in Wikipedia (English)

Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Field Digger Wasp - Mellinus arvensis
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Mellinus arvensis
Field Digger Wasp
AuthorLinnaeus, 1758
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