Animal Species:Cuckoo wasps

The cuckoo wasps are a group of 76 species that mostly parasitise other wasps. Like a cuckoo bird that manages to get another species to raise its chick, these wasps use another's nest for their own young.

Cuckoo wasp specimen

Andrew Donnelly © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Cuckoo wasps

Number of species

76

Identification

Cuckoo wasps are usually a shiny green colour.

Size range

1.2 cm

Distribution

Cuckoo wasps are found throughout Australia.

Habitat

Cuckoo wasps live in urban areas, forests and woodlands, and heath.

Feeding and Diet

Cuckoo wasps can be seen hovering in gardens where they feed on flower nectar and search for wasp nests.

Life cycle

On finding the eggs or the nest containing eggs of a suitable species, such as the Mud-dauber Wasp, the female cuckoo wasp lays an egg next to the egg of the host species. The cuckoo wasp's egg hatches first and the larva eats the food that is stored for the Mud-dauber's young. The larvae of some cuckoo wasp species wait for the host larvae to hatch and have their meal, before attacking and eating them. If the female cuckoo wasp is discovered invading the Mud-dauber's nest, she rolls into a ball and uses special armour plates on her body to protect her.

Classification

Family:
Chrysididae
Superfamily:
Chrysidoidea
Suborder:
Apocrita
Order:
Hymenoptera
Class:
Insecta
Subphylum:
Uniramia
Phylum:
Arthopoda
Kingdom:
Animalia

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Tags wasps, insects, arthropods, invertebrates, wildlife of sydney, identification,

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