Paul Leyland – Clytus arietis

York, SE5754

Paul writes: This is a small longhorn beetle, averaging about 14mm body length, commonly known as the Wasp Beetle. This mimicry of the Common Wasp (amongst others) helps protect it from predators, mainly birds, even though it is harmless. It’s a good pollinator of flowers as it likes sunbathing in hedgerows and woodland rides in summer. There are several wasp mimics around but the combination of the distinctive body markings and long antennae make it easily identifiable. This one I found in June last year at St Nicks, a nature reserve in the middle of York. It breeds in the dead wood of deciduous trees in dry conditions, so the larva will often be found in dead branches or even fence posts.

It is widespread in England and Wales but rarer in Scotland. I see it quite regularly on my wanderings. A few years ago, whilst birdwatching at Whisby Nature Park in Lincolnshire, one landed on my scope case and accompanied me around the site for ten minutes or more.

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