Cerceris quinquefasciata (Rossi,1792)

Description and notes

This species is a very close relative of C. ruficornis and care is necessary to distinguish between them, particularly when identifying males.

Distribution

Although widely distributed in southern England (especially in the south-east), this is a rare species. The majority of records are old, the most recent including individuals collected in Kent, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Oxfordshire. Where found, this wasp may be quite common; for example, O W Richards collected a long series at Studland cliffs towards Old Harry Rocks, Dorset, in July 1939 (specimens in the Natural History Museum, London).

Status (in Britain only)

Listed as Rare (RDB3) in Shirt (1987) and Falk (1991).

Flight period

The species flies from mid-July to late August.

Prey collected

Small curculionid beetles.

Nesting biology

The biology of this species is much less well known than that of C. arenaria, but is likely to be very similar. Nests are often aggregated and tend to occur in relatively hard sandy soil, such as paths (Hamm & Richards, 1930). Prey is again primarily weevils, but generally smaller species (e.g. Apion, Sitona), so that each cell often contains 50 or more specimens, there being up to ten cells per nest (Grandi in Lomholdt, 1976).

Flowers visited

Bramble and creeping thistle.

Author of profile

G R Else and J P Field

Year profile last updated

1997