Crabro cribrarius (Linnaeus,1758)


Sphex patellarius (SCHREBER, 1784); Sphex argus (CHRIST, 1791); Sphex longa (CHRIST, 1791); Sphex lunatus (CHRIST, 1791); Crabro palmatus PANZER 1797; Crabro inornatus MOCSARY 1901; Crabro hypotheticus KOKUJEV, 1927


Description and notes

Of the three species of Crabro which occur in Britain, C. cribrarius is the largest. Male Crabro can be readily distinguished from other medium-sized British and Irish sphecids by their conspicuous fore-tibial shields.


A local species but widely distributed throughout much of Britain and the Channel Islands.

Status (in Britain only)

This species is not regarded as being threatened.


This wasp is mainly associated with light, sandy soils, such as lowland heaths and coastal dunes and landslips. However, it is also encountered on heavier soils, being known, for example, from open woodland and chalk grassland.

Flight period

Apparently single-brooded; late June to mid-September.

Prey collected

Paralysed Diptera of the families Therevidae, Asilidae, Empididae, Syrphidae and the superfamily Muscoidea (Richards, 1980).

Nesting biology

The nest burrows are excavated in the soil and extend for 15-20 cm. Each main burrow ends in a cell, and later two or three cells are constructed at the end of short, lateral branches (Lomholdt, 1976).The cells are provisioned with five to eight flies (Lomholdt, 1976). Continental nests have also been found in decayed wood (Kohl, 1915); indeed, British specimens of this wasp have occasionally been seen alighting on wood.

Flowers visited

This species mainly visits species of umbellifers (Apiaceae), including wild angelica, wild parsnip, hogweed and wild carrot. It also visits creeping thistle.

Author of profile

G R Else.

Year profile last updated