Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Family
    Chrysididae
    Super Family
    Chrysidoidea
    Suborder
    Apocrita
    Order
    Hymenoptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Number of Species
    76
  • Size Range
    1.2 cm

Introduction

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.

Identification

Cuckoo wasps are usually a shiny green colour.

Habitat

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

Distribution

Cuckoo wasps are found throughout Australia.

Feeding and diet

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

Life history 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.