#Biodiversity150 number 33 of 150 Trichrysis doriae

33/150: Brilliant, metallic, and kleptoparasitic: the cuckoo wasp is not your everyday wasp

animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Hymenoptera: Chrysididae: Chrysidinae: Trichrysis: Trichrysis doriae Neurada L., 1753

While we commonly think of wasps as stinging black-and-yellow insects that live in groups, they actually come in many sizes, lifestyles, and colours! The solitary cuckoo wasp, also known as the emerald wasp, comes in various metallic shades of blue, red, and green. They belong to a large cosmopolitan group called Chrysididae which has over 3,000 described species. The term cuckoo wasp refers to their kleptoparasitic nature of laying eggs in another insect’s nest, typically another solitary wasp or bee. Like cuckoo bird hatchlings, the wasp larvae consume the host egg or larva and also steals what food is provided. If caught in the process of sneaking into a nest, some cuckoo wasps can tuck in their legs and curl into a tight ball, like an armadillo, to protect itself. Their pitted exoskeletons keep them unharmed as the host evicts them from the nest and they’re free to try again. There are 2,292 cuckoo wasps with barcodes on BOLD. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

Some cuckoo wasps have a concave abdomen that allows them to tuck their legs in and curl into a tight ball as a defensive mechanism. Photo Credit: Benjamin Smith goo.gl/0YJdB4
The scientific name Chrysididae comes from the Greek term ‘chrysis’ or ‘chrysid-‘ meaning ‘vessel of gold’; a tribute to the cuckoo wasp’s brilliant metallic appearance. Photo Credit: Frupus goo.gl/zMoHc1
The scientific name Chrysididae comes from the Greek term ‘chrysis’ or ‘chrysid-‘ meaning ‘vessel of gold’; a tribute to the cuckoo wasp’s brilliant metallic appearance. Photo Credit: Jean Beaufort goo.gl/wPczaU

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID:  CNPPI1338-12

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Trichrysis doriae

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAG0256

Title Image: Specimen BIOUG03675-G10 – Point Pelee National Park, Ontario – 29-Aug-2012
Photo Credit: CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics

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