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Biology

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The larvae of the wasp beetle feed on the wood of deciduous trees, which have been invaded by a particular species of fungus. The adults emerge in May and feed on the pollen of different species of flowers, the females occasionally taking insects to provide extra protein for egg-production. The adult beetles have a short life and most have died by the end of the summer. Wasp beetles practice what is known as 'protective-colouration', mimicking a more aggressive species of animal. As well as the wasp-like markings on their bodies, they also copy the wasps' style of moving about across a flower-head, adopting the side-ways walk characteristic of wasps. Unlike wasps, however, they lack the sting in the tail.
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Conservation

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There are currently no conservation projects specifically aimed at preserving the wasp beetle. Although the species has a preference for woodland with plenty of open areas where flowers can grow, it is polyphagous, meaning it can feed from a number of different plant species. The wood-boring larvae only require trees that are host to certain fungi but can be found living within a variety of tree species.
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Description

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The wasp beetle is quite aptly-named as, to a casual glance, it does resemble a wasp. However, a closer look will reveal typical beetle characteristics in body type and behaviour. It belongs to the sub-family of long-horn beetles. Colour-wise, the wasp beetle shares the same warning pattern as its un-related namesake. The basic background is black, with a symmetrical pattern of yellow bands and slashes running laterally across the body or obliquely from the centre of the back. The legs are orange-brown, the two hind pairs rather longer than the front. The antennae are brown with black tips.
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Habitat

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The wasp beetle is found mainly in deciduous woodland where there are plenty of open glades with flowers.
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Range

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This species has an extensive range, being found across Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, and southwards through Asia Minor.
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Status

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Common.
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Threats

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This species is still very common across its range and chief threats come from inappropriate management or loss of their woodland habitat.
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Clytus arietis

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C. arietis on blackberry

Clytus arietis, the wasp beetle, is a wasp-mimicking longhorn beetle species in the genus Clytus.[1][2]

Description

It reaches 9–18 millimetres (0.35–0.71 in) in length, and flies well in sunshine from May to July, often visiting flowers for pollen and nectar. It is harmless but is protected by its wasp-like colours and movements, making it a Batesian mimic. The larvae live in dead wood. It also emanates a wasp buzz-like noise when threatened. They can be seen wandering around on flowers from late spring to early summer, and they are easily mistaken for wasps. They are not to be confused with another wasp-mimicking longhorn beetle, Rutpela maculata.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Clytus arietis" at the Encyclopedia of Life
  2. ^ Clytus arietis at the Watford Coleoptera Group website

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Clytus arietis: Brief Summary

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C. arietis on blackberry

Clytus arietis, the wasp beetle, is a wasp-mimicking longhorn beetle species in the genus Clytus.

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