A Wasp that Looks Good to Me

Leucospid wasp on parsley flowers

A Leucospid wasp feeds on a bunch parsley flowers.

There is something about the look of chalcid wasps that I find attractive, a form factor that flips my aesthetics switch. This one here is one of the larger chalcid waps (or maybe more accurately “chalcidoids” from the Superfamily Chalicdoidea) in North America. BugGuide.net says there are 5 species in North America but only has records for one, Leucospis affinis, which is the most common; I figure this is one and the same. These wasps feature an ovipositor that is unusually set along the dorsal side of the insect and which they use to bore into and parasitize the nests of bees.

Hat tip to Marc over at Entomacrographic, whose post on a related wasp tipped me off to the ID.

Postscript: I have another leucospid wasp in my archive from a Florida trip a year or two back, which I believe is the subspecies Leucospid affinis floridana; very similar except it is a striking red and black. (Though you may notice a spot of red on this one!) It’s been a slog going through my archives recently, but I’m “heading to Florida” soon. (Well, I hope so.)

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