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Wasp behaviour and ID

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Old Friday 19th July 2019, 21:13   #1
thomasclark1985
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Wasp behaviour and ID

Hi,

I was on Aylesbeare RSPB reserve in Devon the other day, and witnessed a small wasp riding on the back of a larger wasp, carrying a weevil.... the smaller wasp was persistently smashing the larger wasp (with weevil) into the ground and wrestling with it, whilst another wasp was attacking all 3 of them. The smaller one riding on the back of the larger one eventually won the epic battle after a few mins and managed to bundle the larger wasp and weevil into a hole and job done, flew off.

Any ideas what was going on? also an ID would be nice.
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Old Saturday 20th July 2019, 14:39   #2
Max S.
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I don't know what species occur in the UK, but what you have on your photos is a pair of Cerceris sp.
Not too sure on what's happening though. Maybe the male was trying to mate?
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Old Sunday 21st July 2019, 11:54   #3
thomasclark1985
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Thanks Max, I’ll have a look at which Cerceris sp. we get here when I have time. I presumed the smaller was a Male and larger was female so I wondered whether it was attempted mating, but the weevil threw me off, and then the way it forced them into the hole/burrow.

Cheers,

Tom
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Old Monday 22nd July 2019, 10:42   #4
thomasclark1985
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Hi Max,

It might be this Cerceris arenaria (Sand Tailed Digger Wasp), it fits the habitat and Naturespot quotes -

"The prey species are various weevils. Nests are deep burrows dug in the soil, from which side-tunnels radiate leading to cells at depths of 20 to 25 cm. In sandy areas, dense aggregations containing thousands of nests may form. Each cell is provisioned with 3 to 14 weevils, the number depending on prey size and sex of offspring."

Cheers,

Tom
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