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SOME HABITS OF THE SOLITARY WASP GORYTES FARGEII SHUCK ARD ( = CAMPESTRIS, LINN.) by

HENRY J.

BOREHAM

A $ of this rare and interesting species was observed at its nest, situated in a seam of sticky gravelly clay, five feet above the floor of the perpendicular face of a disused gravel pit at Bury St. Edmunds on the 5th of July, 1952. Besides the main burrow which gradually ascended until it reached a length of two and a half inches were three short lateral ones on either side, all of them terminating in a cell: the entrance was not sealed. T h e cells were constructed in and of the clay and all the stones had apparently been removed from the immediate material, leaving the interiors hard and glossy-smooth. Each cell had been partly stored with a brown and yellowish substance which appeared to be a mixture consisting mostly of flower pollen together with a dark sticky substance which was probably a nectar from flowers ; the whole was very similar to bee bread, and its colour suggested that it had been collected from the flowers of the Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea, L.), of which there was an abundance surrounding the habitat. The colour of the mixture harmonised perfectly with the cell's interior. The mixture was placed on or near the bottom and spread evenly, forming a slightly raised platform, the surface of which was dry and roughish with particles of clay, with which it appeared to have been purposely covered by the wasp. Each cell was filled to its capacity with paralysed nymphs of the Frog-hopper (Philaenus spumarius), all of which were nearing maturity, their average length being 6 mm., and the length of the wasp 11 mm. Two small larvae, one in each of two cells, were found near the top of the stored nymphs upon which they were feeding. REMARKS

Nothing appears to have been recorded of this mixture being found in the cells of this species, neither does there appear to be anything known of this species' anatomy to suggest that it is capable of collecting pollen and nectar from flowers, to produce this mixture itself. It is most likely that the wasp obtains the mixture by robbing the nests of some species of bee. There appears to be some contradiction in the Statement of St. Fargeau and Shuckard as to to the wasp's structure and habits in " Shuckards' Fossorial Hymenoptera ", 1837, pp. 213 - 215. Once again my thanks are due to my friend Dr. C. D. Day for his identification of the specimen of this wasp.

Some Habits of the Solitary Wasp Gorytes fargeii  
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