Campsomeris quadrimaculata – a giant wasp found in Florida

Campsomeris quadrimaculata

While walking, I came across this huge, beneficial wasp. It pollinates a wide variety of flowers and keeps beetle populations in check.

It has no moniker. However, I’m nicknaming it the Lighthouse Wasp, since it flashes yellow beacons as it feeds.

Below is a one-minute video with additional pictures and information.

Video Transcript:

I noticed this wasp along a Florida roadway. It’s Campsomeris quadrimaculata.

Although this female is over an inch and a half in length, she’s non-aggressive, stinging only if threatened. She feeds on a variety of flowers, and must eat before laying her eggs.

When she is ready, she flies low to the ground, searching for buried scarab beetle larvae. When she locates a larva, she digs into the soil, stings it, and deposits an egg on its body.

As her own youngster grows, it devours its host. When the meal is finished, it wraps itself in a cocoon and waits until spring or summer. It then sheds its blanket and emerges from the earth ready to mate.


REFERENCES

E.E. Grissell, Scoliid Wasps of Florida, Campsomeris, Scolia and Trielis Spp. (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Scoliidae)

Barbara I.P. Barratt, Aspects of reproductive biology and behaviour of scoliid wasps. Doc Science Internal Series 147.

Published by cafsamsel

Carol Fullerton-Samsel is a nearly-native Floridian who lives with her husband of 25 years and three rescue animals. She is a cognitive trainer and English tutor with a passion for day-hiking and nature. Be sure to visit the TenPaths YouTube channel, which is still in its infancy.

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