Comprehensive Description

provided by Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology
Eumenes mediterraneus Kriechbaumer

On 23 March I found a small mud nest (No. 32365 A) of this wasp about a meter above the ground on a twig of a tamarisk shrub in a desert scrub area at Kom Oshim. The nest was flattened spheroidal in shape, about 4 mm wide, 5 mm long, and 3.3 mm high. It did not have a pronounced jug-shaped neck as in the nests of some other Eumenes species.

Presumably the nest was completed several days before my discovery. A male wasp emerged about 17 April or a day or two earlier while I was absent on a field trip. I found it dead but still limp in the rearing tin on 19 April.

Deleurance (1946, pp. 90–96), under the name Eumenes pomiformis var. mediterranea, published some biological notes on this species made at Nice, France, and summarized previous observations on the nesting habits of the species. He noted that this Eumenes built its nest on herbaceous stems or slender branches, beneath leaves, on walls, and in burrows of Anthophora bees. Construction of the delicate mud nest required 1½–2 hours. In one case the wasp built the nest and laid an egg in it on 7 July, the egg hatched on the 9th, the wasp placed paralyzed green caterpillars in the nest on the 9th, 10th, and 11th, and sealed the nest on the last date. The wasp larva completed feeding on the stored caterpillars on the 13th. The mother wasp commenced a second nest on the 12th. This instance of progressive provisioning, unusual for an eumenid wasp, was repeated later by another specimen of mediterraneus, so it appears to be a fixed habit of this species.

Consolidated prey records attributed to mediterraneus are as follows:

OECOPHORIDAE: Agonopteryx heracliana (Linnaeus) [recorded as Depressaria applana Fabricius].

YPONOMEUTIDAE: Plutella xylostella (Linnaeus) [recorded as cruciferarum Zeller].

PHALONIIDAE: Eupoecilia angustana (Hübner) [recorded as Cochylis cruentana Froelich], C. hybridella (Hübner).

PYRALIDAE: Evergestis extimalis (Scopoli) [recorded in Pionea], Pyrausta sanguinalis (Linnaeus), Homoesoma nimbellum (Duponchel).

PTEROPHORIDAE: Platyptilia acanthodactyla (Hübner) [recorded in Amblyptilia], Oxyptilus tristis Zeller, Pterophorus monodactylus (Linnaeus), Mimeseoptilus seronitus Zeller.

GEOMETRIDAE: Lobophora halterata (Hufnagel), Cidaria juniprata (Linnaeus) [recorded in Thera], C. bifasciata ab. unifasciata (Haworth), Eupithecia oxycedrata Rambur, E. linariata (Fabricius), Gymnoscelis pumilata (Hübner) [recorded in Eupithecia], Lythria purpurata (Linnaeus), Ligydia adustata (Denis & Schiffermüller).

NOCTUIDAE: Heliothis armigera (Hübner), H. dipsacea (Linnaeus).

Deleurance cites Chrétien as finding 3–38 caterpillars per cell and Fabre 14–16. The wasp larva spins a cocoon and voids its accumulated fecal wastes in about six days. During the summer pupation occurs about a week later. The entire life cycle in summer, egg to adult, requires 30–40 days.

Parasites of mediterraneus were listed as follows:

CHRYSIDIDAE: Holopyga rosea (Rossi) and H. purpurascens (Dahlbom) [both of these listed in Hedychrum], Chrysis cyanopyga Dahlbom, C. ignita (Linnaeus).

EULOPHIDAE: Melittobia acasta (Walker) [recorded as audouini].

ENCYRTIDAE: Paralitomastix varicornis (Nees) [recorded in Encyrtus].

ICHNEUMONIDAE: Mesostenus species, Bathyplectes exiguus (Gravenhorst) [recorded as Canidia pusilla Holmgren, a synonym], Mesoleius abbreviatus Brischke [recorded as Mesolephus (!)].

BOMBYLIIDAE: Toxophora maculata (Rossi).

It should be noted that some of these parasite records are unquestionably erroneous, being based presumably either on misidentifications, on specimens reared from prey of the wasp, or on other insects occurring by chance in the wasp nests. Thus, Mesostenus and Paralitomastix parasitize lepidopterous larvae; this species of Bathyplectes has as its host species of the weevil genus Hypera; and the species of Mesoleius parasitize sawfly larvae.
bibliographic citation
Krombein, Karl V. 1969. "Life History Notes on Some Egyptian Solitary Wasps and Bees and Their Associates (Hymenoptera: Aculeata)." Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. 1-18.