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Wasp Beetle (Clytus arietis)

Wasp beetle of the longhorn beetle (Cerambycidae) family is mostly found in the United Kingdom. This small beetle species gets its name because of its ability to mimic wasps in coloration, behavior, and movement. This trait of theirs makes the wasp beetles a Batesian mimic (a mechanism where a harmless species imitates the signals of a harmful one as a defense strategy), helping them safeguard themselves from their predators.

Wasp Beetle

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

Size: 9 – 18 mm (0.35 – 0.71 inches)

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Cerambycidae
  • Genus: Clytus
  • Scientific name: Clytus arietis

Color: They have a black body with yellow bands, alongside brown legs.

Other Characteristic Features: These narrow-bodied beetles have shorter antennae compared to the other longhorn beetle species.

Larvae

They are small, with a white hairy appearance.

Wasp Beetle Larvae

Pupa

The larva mostly feeds and thrives in dead woods, where it gradually emerges into a pupa.

Wasp Beetle Pupa

Eggs

They appear tiny and round, laid on decayed wood.

Quick Facts

Lifespan2 – 5 months  
DistributionParts of the United Kingdom mostly in Wales and England, and rarely in Scotland
HabitatLarvae: Areas of warm and dry dead wood, mostly that of birch and willow trees
Adults: Woodlands, parks, gardens, hedgerows
Common PredatorsMostly birds
Seasons active from May-August (summer)
Diet of larvae and adultsLarvae: Deciduous dead wood
Adults: Pollen and nectar from flowers between late spring and early summer; small invertebrates, mostly eaten by females to obtain the required protein needed for laying eggs
Clytus arietis

Did You Know

  • They replicate the wasp by moving in a jerky manner and making a buzzing noise upon being attacked by predators. However, they are not at all harmful like the wasp and do not sting or bite.
  • Because of their black and yellow coloration, they closely resemble the spotted longhorn, another wasp-mimicking species of the longhorn family. Yet, both have prominently visible differences and are not to be confused with the other.
Wasp Beetle Picture

Image Source: content.eol.org, warrenphotographic.co.uk, i.pinimg.com

Wasp beetle of the longhorn beetle (Cerambycidae) family is mostly found in the United Kingdom. This small beetle species gets its name because of its ability to mimic wasps in coloration, behavior, and movement. This trait of theirs makes the wasp beetles a Batesian mimic (a mechanism where a harmless species imitates the signals of a harmful one as a defense strategy), helping them safeguard themselves from their predators.

Wasp Beetle

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

Size: 9 – 18 mm (0.35 – 0.71 inches)

Color: They have a black body with yellow bands, alongside brown legs.

Other Characteristic Features: These narrow-bodied beetles have shorter antennae compared to the other longhorn beetle species.

Larvae

They are small, with a white hairy appearance.

Wasp Beetle Larvae

Pupa

The larva mostly feeds and thrives in dead woods, where it gradually emerges into a pupa.

Wasp Beetle Pupa

Eggs

They appear tiny and round, laid on decayed wood.

Quick Facts

Lifespan2 – 5 months  
DistributionParts of the United Kingdom mostly in Wales and England, and rarely in Scotland
HabitatLarvae: Areas of warm and dry dead wood, mostly that of birch and willow trees
Adults: Woodlands, parks, gardens, hedgerows
Common PredatorsMostly birds
Seasons active from May-August (summer)
Diet of larvae and adultsLarvae: Deciduous dead wood
Adults: Pollen and nectar from flowers between late spring and early summer; small invertebrates, mostly eaten by females to obtain the required protein needed for laying eggs
Clytus arietis

Did You Know

  • They replicate the wasp by moving in a jerky manner and making a buzzing noise upon being attacked by predators. However, they are not at all harmful like the wasp and do not sting or bite.
  • Because of their black and yellow coloration, they closely resemble the spotted longhorn, another wasp-mimicking species of the longhorn family. Yet, both have prominently visible differences and are not to be confused with the other.
Wasp Beetle Picture

Image Source: content.eol.org, warrenphotographic.co.uk, i.pinimg.com

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