At up to an inch and a half in length, this beautiful wasp (Great Potter Wasp – Delta unguiculatum – Avispa Alfarera) is the largest European species of the Eumeninae subfamily.
The head is black with a yellow face and a yellow line behind the large eyes. The jaws are reddish brown.
The antennae are black, except for a small part of the scape that is yellow or reddish brown. The antennae of males are made up of thirteen segments, the last of which is curved, while those of females have only twelve segments and the last is straight. (The male is also somewhat smaller than the female).
On the thorax, the pronotum is yellow with reddish brown tips, while the mesonotum is black, with reddish brown tegules and some reddish brown spots on the dorsal part. As in the other species of the genus Delta, Its abdomen is provided with a very long petiole (second abdominal segment), which in this species has a black base and a reddish-brown end. The third abdominal segment, which is the widest and largest of all, has a reddish brown base, a yellow back and a black band separating both colors. The remaining abdominal segments are yellow, with a black base that is usually almost completely hidden under the border of the anterior segment. The legs are reddish brown, except for the tarsi and the basal half of the femurs, both black. The wings are smoky brown in color.
They spend most of their time building nests gathering mud, and going back and forth from the nest to a source of water. Once the vessel-shaped nest is finished, it is stocked with caterpillar or larvae of other insects paralyzed with the venom of their stinger A single egg is deposited and as the prey does not die, it is in perfect condition for when the larva hatches in the autumn.
Distribution: Mediterranean basin including the Iberian Peninsular
The images in this article were taken in the Sierra de Grazalema at around 600 metres during the month of August.
The thread wasted wasp is similar in its habits but is much smaller and is distinct from the Great Potter Wasp
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