RUBY-TAILED WASP - Protective Posture (Chrysis ignita)
Picture: Spike Walker / Wellcome Images
Other images you may enjoy:
Jewel Wasp or Cockroach Wasp
Ruby-tailed Wasp or Cuckoo Wasp
Nice shot of a Ruby-tailed Wasp
Photomicrograph of the ruby-tailed wasp. Chrysis ignita is the most commonly observed (of several) species of the ruby-tailed wasp. It is easily recognised by the vibrant iridescent colours on its body. The head and thorax is a metallic green / blue, while the abdomen is a ruby red / bronze colour, which gives it its name. The underside of the abdomen is also concave, which allows the wasp to roll itself into a protective ball if threatened.
Ruby tailed wasps are ‘parasitoids’ meaning that they eventually kill their hosts. Chrysis ignita parasitizes Mason Bees - the females lay their eggs in the same nest as mason bees, so, when the ruby-tailed wasp larvae hatch, they feed on the mason bee larvae. Ruby tailed wasps do have a sting but it is not functional and most species have no venom.
To highlight the irridesent colours the wasp was lit with 2 electronic flashes, one +/- horizontal, the other at 45 degrees.