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Wasp ID - Orussus terminalis

Wasp ID - Orussus terminalis
Norfolk, Virginia, USA
April 12, 2008
Size: ~13mm
Walking along fallen tree as if searching for something.

Images of this individual: tag all
Wasp ID - Orussus terminalis Wasp ID - Orussus terminalis Wasp ID - Orussus terminalis

"Walking along fallen tree as if searching for something."

Indeed. The females scuttle along tapping the surface with their antennae. They apparently sense the resulting vibrations with their foreleg joints. They're thought to lay eggs in or near Buprestid larvae.
In my location, I've only seen them on logs with particular sized holes, characteristic of Buprestids.

You can tell this is a female by the swollen antenna tip.

Reference: Lars Vilhelmsen, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen

Moved from Orussus.

This is a parasitic wood wasp (family Orussidae). From the other Orussid pic, it must be Orussus terminalis. You can tell the family by the low attachment of the antennae and the spikes/nodules on the frons. Not terribly common and really interesting phylogenetically. Nice find!

How common
I have to say, that in my yard, which is is N Va, they are all over the place. They cluster together at night on branches. They appear to be eating my leaves of my Sweet Bay Magnolia. They hover over the grass during daylight hrs. Thanks.

It wasn't too hard to get pics of this wasp. Didn't seem bothered by my presence at all.

Outstanding images, Preston, and indeed a rarely-seen insect. I've only collected a couple myself, and they seemed to rapidly pace short distances rather than fly and alight....

Thanks Eric!
I found another similar wasp, a little smaller and faster moving on this same tree. I got two shots of it before it flew away, but they are just out of focus.....barely. I will be back there in a few days to see if I can find it again. Maybe I'll post it later, but it is not up to my standards :^).

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