Cerceris rybyensis (Ornate tailed diggerwasp)♂︎

Last update: 6 November 2021


SPECIES: Ornate tailed diggerwasp (Cerceris rybyensis)




Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis)


1. Distribution
2. Behaviour
3. Plant relations
4. Prey relations
5. Parasitic relations
6. Identification


The Ornate tailed diggerwasp (Cerceris rybyensis) [1] is a common species throughout the Netherlands [2], with an exception of the Wadden islands [3].



The species is active from half May until half October [2,3].


The female digs a nest in the ground, sand and loam or loess [4], that consist of a burrow 10 to 15 cm in length perpendicular to the ground [4]. The cells are dug from the main burrow and willed with prey of one bee species as food for the larvae [3].

2.3. Bee hotel

The males are known to use artificial nest help like bee hotels as a sleeping place [6].


The adult wasps feed with nectar and/or pollen. Relations with the following plant species and groups are cited in literature:

Asteraceae– Dandelion (Taraxacum) [7], incidental visit

In the garden I’ve observed the species foraging on the following plants:

Asteraceae– Giant goldenrod (Solidago gigantea)


This species uses bees as foor for her offspring [3]. The size of the prey is proportional to the size of the female, which give larger females a broader choice in prey [8].

The following species present in the Netherlands are cited in literature:

Blood bees (Sphecodes) [5]
Halictus [3,4]
Panurgus, sometimes [3,4]
Mining bees (Andrena) [3,4]


The following C. rybyensis nest parasites present in the Netherlands are cited in literature:

DIPTERA, SarcophagidaeMetopia [3]
Metopia argyrocephala [10]

Miltogramma [3]

Pterella [3]
Pterella grisea [5]
HYMENOPTERA, Chrysididae
Chrysis ignita [5]

Hedychrum gerstaeckeri [5,9]
Hedychrum niemelai [5,9]
Hedychrum nobile [5,9]

The following nest parasites have been observed in the garden:

HYMENOPTERA, ChrysididaeChrysis ignita


Length males: 7 – 10 mm
Length females: 8 – 14 mm


Specimen of the genus Cerceris are recognisable by the following characters:

1. Three submarginal cells [4,8]

Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis), front wing with three submarginal cells

2. Second submarginal cell petiolate, does not reach radial cell [4,8]

Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis), second submarginal cel petiolate

3. Tip radial cell rounded [4,8]

Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis), tip radial cel rounded

4. First abdominal segment looking from above strongly narrowed compared with the second segment [4], the other segments separated from each other by constrictions [8]

Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis), first tergite knot shaped, tergites separated by contriction between them

1. Antenna with twelve segments [4,8]

2. Abdomen with six segments [4,8]

Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis)
Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis)
Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis)
Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis)
Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis), tergite 7

  1. Antenna with 13 segments [4,8]
Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis), antenne met 13 segmenten

2. Abdomen with 7 segments [4,8]

Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis), abdomen with 7 segments

3. Tergite 2 with yellow base [4,8]

Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis), base tergite 2 yellow

4. Tergite 4 in most specimen black [4]. If present, the yellow markings on tergite 4 less extensive than on tergite 5 [4,8].

Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis), yellow markings on tergite 4, when present, a lot less elaborate then on tergite 5

5. Sternite 2 with elevated area at it’s base [4,8]

Cerceris rybyensis ♂, Sternite II with basal elevation

For comparison: sternite 2 of C. arenaria without elevated area at it’s base.

Cerceris arenaria ♀︎, sternite II without elevated area at base

6. Clypeus narrow and protruding, lower edge straight [8]

Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis), clypeus narrow and potruding, lower edge straight

7. Keel between antenna base stops far in front of ocelli [8]

Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis), keel between antennae base stops far in front of ocelli

8. Width of the adhered hairs on the apical edge of the clypeal sidelobes is somewhat narrower than the space between them [8]

Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis), width adhered hairs apical edge clypeus sidelobes, somewhat narrower than space in between

9. Space between ocelle and inner edge eye is wider than the space between the hind ocelli [8]

Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis), space between ocelle and edge eye wider than space between hind ocelli

10. Antennae mostly dark coloured [4,8]

Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis), antennae dark

11. Length basal lobe (L) hindwing at most 1/4 length analcell (A) [8]

Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis), basal lobe (L) hindwing about 1/4 length analcell (A)

12. Middle and front tibia completely yellow [8]

Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis), middle and front tibia completely yellow

13. Dorsalfield propodeum smooth [8]

Ornate tailed diggerwasp ♂︎ (Cerceris rybyensis), dorsal field propodeum smooth


1 Nederlands Soortenregister

2 Waarneming.nl

3 Peeters, T.M.J., C. van Achterberg, W.R.B. Heitmans, W.F. Klein, V. Lefeber, A.J. van Loon, A.A. Mabelis, H. Nieuwen-huijsen, M. Reemer, J. de Rond, J. Smit, H.H.W. Velthuis, 2004. De wespen en mieren van Nederland (Hymenoptera: Aculeata). – Nederlandse Fauna 6. Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum Naturalis, Leiden, knnv Uitgeverij, Utrecht & European Invertebrate Survey – Nederland, Leiden.

4 KLEIN, Wim. De graafwespen van de Benelux. Jeugdbondsuitgeverij, Utrecht, 1996, 1-130. + KLEIN, Wim. De graafwespen van de Benelux: supplement. Jeugdbondsuitgeverij, 1999.

5 Ruchin, Alexander & Antropov, Alexander. (2019). Wasp fauna (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae, Chrysididae, Dryinidae, Tiphiidae, Mutillidae, Scoliidae, Pompilidae, Vespidae, Sphecidae, Crabronidae & Trigonalyidae) of Mordovia State Nature Reserve and its surroundings in Russia. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 11. 13195-13250. 10.11609/jott.4216.11.2.13195-13250.

6 Breugel, P. van 2014. Gasten van bijenhotels. – EIS Kenniscentrum Insecten en andere ongewervelden & Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden.

7 HONĚK, ALOIS, et al. Arthropod fauna recorded in flowers of apomictic Taraxacum section Ruderalia. European Journal of Entomology, 2016, 113.

8 Hermann Dollfuss, "Bestimmungsschlüssel der Grabwespen Nord- und Zentraleuropas (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae) mit speziellen Angaben zur Grabwespenfauna Österreichs", Publikation der Botanischen Arbeitsgemeinschaft am O.Ö.Landesmuseum Linz, LINZ, 20. Dezember 1991

9 PAUKKUNEN, Juho, et al. An illustrated key to the cuckoo wasps (Hymenoptera, Chrysididae) of the Nordic and Baltic countries, with description of a new species. ZooKeys, 2015, 548: 1.

10 POVOLNY, D. The flesh-flies of Central Europe (Insecta, Diptera, Sarcophagidae). Spixiana supplement, 1997, 24: 1-260.

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