The Cuckoo Wasp (Chrysis viridula)
This colorful wasp is definitely a sight to behold with its beautiful colors! And since this month is Pride Month, we might as well look at some of the more rainbow-colored plants and animals. So let's dive in!
Physical Description and Behavior
This small wasp is only about 9mm long and is easy to distinguish as a cuckoo wasp due to its array of colors. These are probably 'warning colors' to show other animals that it is poisonous and should not be dealt with. They feed on a variety of flowers but prefer umbellifers the most.
They can be found in close proximity to wasp nests (This includes the species Odynerus spinipes and Odynerus melanocephalus), as this smart bug will lay their eggs inside of them.
The Cuckoo is also a parasite and will lay their eggs in the nest of a competing wasp.
In fact, they are called the Cuckoo due to the fact that they lay their eggs similar to one. Female wasps do not notice this invader egg, and thus closes the tunnel up, which protests and incubates the Cuckoo's eggs.
The Cuckoo has several defense mechanisms, such as having a hard exoskeleton to protect itself from being attacked. When it senses it is in danger, it will roll up into a ball like Samus in Metroid and make itself impenetrable.
Habitat and Location
These wasps can be found all over Europe, in Belgium, Sweden, Norway, the UK, and more. They are found mainly near areas of water and areas that are sparsely vegetated and has a lot of clay and rocky hillsides.
You can see this wasp in action by checking out the video below: