Ruby-tailed Jewel Wasp

This is a first for me! I have been so hoping to see one of these exquisite little wasps. It was one of those occasions when you glance out of the window, see a little metallic shine on a leaf and think it might just be a fly.

Then you realise it has some astonishing colours and rush around the house to find the camera .. hoping it will not fly away. There are many very beautiful photos on the internet where you can see these wasps in much more detail but this is my photo, on a leaf of the hyssop which is growing just outside my work room door.

It is Chrysis ignita a cuckoo wasp which lays its eggs in the nests of other solitary bees and wasps. Read more about it here :

wasp7 bg    wasp6 bg

Their colours are stunning and change with the angle of the light, and the surface of their body is slightly pitted when you see them in close up.

wasp2 bg

I painted an American version back in the days when I didn’t know my sweat bees from my wasps.

It arrived in the same box as a few little honey bee models for my very first bee painting.

They had come from Joe, my Florida beekeeping friend back in August 2009. At the time I had no idea what it was. I wonder if I might find a defunct little UK wasp to paint. It would make a good companion.

Chrysididae wasp

The USA Chrysididae wasp from 2009