Tiphia femorata Fabricus,1775

Description and notes

Identification keys and general biology are given in Malyshev (1968), Iwata (1976), Richards (1980), Gauld & Bolton (1988) and Yeo & Corbet (1995).

Distribution

From Cornwall to Kent, south Wales and north to Norfolk. Also found in the Channel Islands.

Overseas, found in much of Europe (including Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, The Netherlands, France, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Poland, Hungary). Also recorded from far-eastern Russia.

Status (in Britain only)

The species is not regarded as being scarce or threatened.

Habitat

Open, sunny, often disturbed places such as coastal sand dunes (fore and middle dunes), inland heaths, calcareous grasslands, undercliffs and landslip areas. Also recorded from a clearing with basic grassland in a coniferous plantation.

Flight period

Probably single-brooded. Most likely to be found during July and especially August, but also much less frequently during June and September.

Flowers visited

Angelica, wild carrot, fennel, hogweed, ragwort, rock samphire, spurge and wild parsnip.

Parasitic biology

This wasp is a parasitoid on scarabaeid beetle larvae (recorded hosts include Aphodius, Rhizotrogus and Anisoplia). The female burrows into the soil to find a larval host (usually well matured) in its cell. The wasp burrows below the host's cell before breaking into it, where she stings the larva and kneads it with her mandibles. An egg is laid usually on the lateral or ventral surface of the host in a fold of the cuticle. The paralysis is temporary, lasting for about 20-40 minutes, after which the larva becomes active, usually sufficiently so to continue feeding on the roots of grass. The wasp egg hatches to produce a larva which takes about three weeks to consume its host. At first the ectoparasitoid sucks the haemolymph before finally entering the host and eating the viscera. Pupation takes place in the host's cell.

Author of profile

M E Archer.

Year profile last updated

2001