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Leucospid Wasp (Leucospis spp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Leucospid Wasp

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All-over dimples and a round bottom on the Leucospid Wasp helps differentiate it from similar-looking paper wasps.

Updated: 07/07/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
While most wasps have abdomen that come to a point, this type of wasp seems to have rounded it out. They still possess stingers. Females also have an ovipositor, a syringe-like tube used for laying eggs in other bees and wasp nests. This ovipositor tends to curl instead of sticking straight out. Unlike other types of wasps that flare out their wings while resting, Leucospid Wasps will fold their wings on top of themselves, over their own generally hairless body. They have large 'thighs' on their hind legs, making it easy to mistake them for a bee with large pollen baskets.

This family of wasps is parasitic to a variety of other bees and wasps. The female will lay one or many fertilized eggs in an already existing nest. Once the first Leucospid Wasp hatches, it immediately sets out to eat every other egg in the nest, even if they are also Leucospid Wasps. While there, it will pupate and emerge as a winged adult. Adults visit flowers all summer.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Spiny / Spiky insect icon
Insect stinger icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hymenoptera
        Family: Leucospidae
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          Genus: Leucospis
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            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Leucospis spp.
Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 13mm to 17mm (0.51" to 0.66")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, yellow, white
Descriptors: flying, stinging, large, hornet, mimic, mason, bee

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 13mm (0.5in) and 17mm (0.7in)
Lo: 13mm
Md: 15mm
Hi: 17mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Leucospid Wasp may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Leucospid Wasp. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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