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Insects and other arthropods

Great golden digger wasp

English
Sphex ichneumoneus

Tabs group

Description

These insects owe their name to the short golden hairs that cover the thorax and head. 

They have black antennae and orange or golden brown wings. The legs are orange, except for the coxa, the part nearest the body, which is black. Great golden digger wasps have a narrow waist and a bi-coloured abdomen: orange-red in front and black behind. Their total length is 15 to 27 mm, and males are slightly smaller than females.

Life cycle

After mating, the female digs a nest in the ground. The nest is a central, almost vertical tunnel with two to six other tunnels branching off from it, each one ending in a cell that will hold a single larva. The female then goes hunting and places her prey inside the cells. She lays an egg on each one. She paralyzes her prey, which remain alive. When the larva emerges from the egg, it feeds on the insect left for it by the female. There is only one generation a year.

Geographic distribution

This species is found in southern Canada, the United States and as far south as Brazil, Peru and Ecuador.

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