If looks could kill

Wood wasp or greater horntail (Urocerus gigas) (c) Duncan Hutt

Wood wasp or greater horntail (Urocerus gigas) (c) Duncan Hutt

Close up of the greater horntail head (c) Duncan Hutt

Close up of the greater horntail head (c) Duncan Hutt

This fearsome looking beast is a wood wasp, although it isn’t a wasp at all; more specifically it has the name of greater horntail (Urocerus gigas).  The names refer to the long sting like point at the end of the abdomen which is actually an ovipositor, which she uses to drill into damaged (diseased, or dead) conifer wood.  The larvae develop in the wood and can produce a tunnel of about 30cm in the 2-4 years it takes for them to develop before turning into an adult.  This specimen made a surprise visit to the garden, a significant distance away from any suitable conifer woodland habitat.  Despite its looks it is completely harmless!

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About thehutts

The Hutt Family from Northumberland
This entry was posted in Invertebrates, Northumberland and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to If looks could kill

  1. Fascinating. What was it doing in your garden?

  2. colonialist says:

    I wonder how often they get bumped off in cases of mistaken species identity? I would certainly be reaching for a suitable weapon! Snakes I can take, but i don’t like having stingy thingies in working order in my vicinity.

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