Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Hymenoptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Including Cleptidae.

Ruby-tailed Wasps.

Adults small to large; 5–16 mm long. Solitary insects.

Head. Antennal segments (10–)12 (females), or (10–)13 (males). Antennae geniculate.

Thorax. Pronotum short, not extending back to the tegulae. Cenchri absent. Wings present, or absent. Fore-wings with a conspicuous pterostigma; with the venation well developed (but reduced apically). Closed fore-wing cells 6–10. Hind-wings when present, without closed cells. Fore femur dilated, or not noticeably dilated. Hind femur without a well defined trochantellus. Hind tibiae without specialised spurs.

Abdomen. The abdomen with a marked basal constriction; short-waisted. The ‘waist’ simple. Visible abdominal segments 3–4; highly metallic in appearance, or not highly metallic. The gaster concolorous, or colour-patterned; when concolorous, green, blue, coppery or red; when patterned, blue-and-ruby, red-and-green, etc.?. Ovipositor of females not visibly protruding.

Larvae. Larvae legless or the legs vestigial; socially parasitic on hosts selected by the mother and predacious (mostly parasitic in the sense of utilising insects stored by other Hymenoptera), or feeding on prey collected and stored by the adults.

British representation. Species in Britain about 35; Chrysis, Cleptes, Euchroeus, Hedychrydium, Hedychrum and Omalus.

Classification. Suborder Apocrita; Series Aculeata; Superfamily Chrysidoidea.

Illustrations. • Cleptes nitidulus: B. Ent. 724. • Cleptes nitidulus: B. Ent. 724, legend+text. • Cleptes nitidulus: B. Ent. 724, text cont.. • Chrysis fulgida (Ruby-tailed Wasp: B. Ent. 8). • Chrysis fulgida (detail: B. Ent. 8). • Chrysis fulgida (dissections: B. Ent. 8). • Chrysis fulgida: B. Ent. 8, legend+text. • Chrysis fulgida: B. Ent. 8, text cont.. • Hedychridium ardens (Red-footed Golden-fly): B. Ent. 038. • Hedychridium ardens: B. Ent. 038, legend+text. • Hedychridium ardens: B. Ent. 038, text cont..

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Hymenoptera. Version: 16th May 2016.’.