Cleptes nitidulus (Fabricius,1793)

Description and notes

Identification keys and general biology are given in Morgan (1984) and Falk (1991).

Distribution

Devon to Kent, north to Cumberland and South-west Yorkshire. A widespread species which has probably declined recently.

Overseas, the wasp occurs in Europe (including Sweden, Finland, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Albania); also Turkey and Manchuria.

Status (in Britain only)

This species is regarded as a Red Data Book species (RDB3, Rare) by Shirt (1987), but provisionally down-graded to Nationally Scarce (Na) by Falk (1991).

Habitat

Associated with open habitats both inland, e.g. scrub, heathland, calcareous grassland; and coastal, e.g. sand dunes.

Flight period

From June to August but mainly during July; rare during May and September. Males are found slightly more frequently than females.

Flowers visited

Found on hogweed and wild carrot and probably other umbellifers (Apiaceae).

Parasites

No specific information found.

Parasitic biology

A parasitoid on the cocoons of tenthredinid sawflies. The wasp has been reared from cocoons of the sawfly Caliroa cerasi in France, whose caterpillars feed on the leaves of pears and cherries. See Cleptes semiauratus for details of life-history.

Author of profile

M E Archer.