Wasp hill

Wasp nest!

Episyron rufipes♀︎

Zygiella x-notata

Last update: 11 March 2024


LOCATION: Krimpen aan den IJssel, garden


Since the first observation of Episyron rufipes in our garden, the species has become a permanent resident nesting every year in the digger wasp hill. This season three females were building nests simultaneously The female in this article was the most active with elaborate excavation activities.

Figure 1. Episyron rufipes ♀︎, carrying Zygiella x-notata into nest_2
Figure 2. Episyron rufipes ♀︎

During two days she dug two nests in the slope, one of them consisting of an extensive structure. From the main entrance (figure 3) the excavation was done horizontally creating a deep, wide structure (figure 5). The sand was thrown out with force underneath the body using the forelegs and small stones were carried or pushed out of the cavity. The nest cel seemed located at the left of the main entrance. From the inside out she dug two more exits that ended underneath the bricks to the right of the main entrance (figure 4). Why she did that remained unclear. Typically digging pompilids dig one nestcel that is directly accessible from the entrance. No provisioning has been observed. What she was doing inside the nest was difficult to see but the digging continued and sand was displaced from the right side of the entrance towards the nest cel. Eventually this cause the structure to collapse, which might have been her goal as she then stopped her activities. Possibly this was a failed nest.

Figure 3. Episyron rufipes ♀︎ at main entrance nest_1
Figure 4. Episyron rufipes ♀︎, two nest locations and exits of nest_1

The day after assumedly the same female started the construction of nest_2 just above the previous location. Construction follow the usual path as to be expected. A female Zygiella x-notata (figure 1 & 6) that was carried backwards into it (figure 1) was used as provisions. Relatively little time was spent on closing the nest, possibly as result of the easily displaced sand that seemed not to be compressed by her.

Figure 5. Episyron rufipes ♀︎ digging nest_1
Figure 6. The prey, a female Zygiella x-notata


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