Cuckoo Wasp

Brief Description

Also known as Emerald Wasps which are often highly sculptured. They are mostly found in desert regions and the name refers to “ Cuckoo” like the way in which the wasp species lay eggs in the nests of such host species which are non-relatable to them where they consume the larva or egg of the host upon maturity. They have approximately 3000 species around the world. It is believed that the female cuckoo wasp is unable to sting and so their stings become non-functional.

Appearance Of Cuckoo Wasp

They are bright iridescent green, blue or purple in colour with a glittery appearance. Some parts of the northern hemisphere have “Gold Wasps” or “Ruby Wasps” which have gold or reddish tints. To get some defence from the predators, they possess stings and biting mandibles. They also have the ability to roll their body into the ball with their legs tucked in. A long, thin appendage coming out of the tip of the female abdomen which is known as an “Ovipositor” is used for the insertion of the eggs into a nest of the host. 

Life Cycle

Various different species of Cuckoo Wasps choose different hosts for hatching their eggs. When the mother host is away from the nest, then with the help of their own egg-laying organ “Ovipositor”, Cuckoo wasps lay eggs on their own and this also helps them to hide its egg. The egg then hatches and a larva comes out which gets attached to the host larva and eats and grows with it patiently. At the pre-pupal stage, the cuckoo larva consumes the host larva and becomes a mature pupa. This pupa gets converted into an adult and comes out of the host nest. In some other species of Cuckoo Wasp, the cuckoo larva eats the host egg or young larva and then scarfs down the food stored for the host.

Habits Of Cuckoo Wasp

  • They lay their eggs in the nest of other insects.
  • They are smaller in size and have secretive habits and so they are seen occasionally.
  • Cuckoo wasps feed and grow with the host larva and then kill the host larva.
  • They are solitary types of wasps that love to live alone and not in colonies.
  • They lost their ability to sting.