Tiphia minuta Vander Linden,1827

Description and notes

Identification keys and general biology are given in Iwata (1976), Richards (1980), Gauld & Bolton (1988), Falk (1991), and Yeo & Corbet (1995).

Distribution

Widespread in Britain south of the Humber. There are isolated records from Westmorland, Isle of Man, Ayrshire and Mid Perthshire. There is also one record for Ireland (Wicklow).

Overseas found in many parts of Europe (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary), and far-eastern Russia.

Status (in Britain only)

Listed as Notable B by Falk (1991) [now known as Scarce (Nb)]. However, the species is difficult to find (see below), and is clearly widespread. The status may therefore need adjusting in the future.

Habitat

Heathland, downland and other types of grassland, open woodland, and coastal dunes. The wasps fly just above the surface of the ground with a 'hovering' motion which makes them difficult to spot (most collectors tend to look for insects on the ground or flying well above the surface) (M Edwards, pers. comm.).

Flight period

Univoltine; from May until August with a peak in June and July.

Flowers visited

Carrot, garden chervil, evening-primrose, ground-elder and wild parsnip.

Parasitic biology

The female burrows into the soil to find larvae (often mature), usually of dung beetles. The female breaks into the host's cell, stinging the larva to temporary paralysis. The host is kneaded with the female's mandibles, and the egg is laid usually on the side or ventral surface of the beetle larva (Gauld and Bolton 1988).

Author of profile

M E Archer

Year profile last updated

2001