Ectemnius cavifrons (Thomson,1870)


Ectemnius cephalotes misident.

Description and notes

Ectemnius cavifrons is one of the largest and most common species of its genus in Britain.


The map illustrates that this wasp is found throughout much of southern England, Wales and the Channel Islands (Guernsey (Luff 1895, Saunders 1902), Alderney, Sark, Jersey).  It also occurs on the Isle of Man.  In Scotland the species is known only from the south-east: Lothian Region (Edinburgh). The known Irish distribution is mainly concentrated along the eastern seaboard.

The species is probably under-recorded in many areas, but its basic range is nevertheless evident in the map.  It is notable that recent records demonstrate a northward spread, not only of E. cavifrons but also of some other Ectemnius species.

Status (in Britain only)

This species is not regarded as being threatened.

Flight period

June - October. In some seasons there may be two broods.

Prey collected

Usually adult hoverflies (Diptera, Syrphidae).

Nesting biology

Ectemnius cavifrons nests in burrows in decaying wood. Aspects of its nesting biology are summarised by Hamm and Richards (1926).  Burrows may be excavated by the female, although use of existing burrows of other insects has also been recorded.  Burrows are often branched, and may contain as many as 14 cells, each provisioned with 6-12 flies.

Flowers visited

Various species of umbellifers (Apiaceae).  Honeydew on leaves is also taken.


No information available.

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