Black Hover Wasp (Eustenogaster nigra) 黑真狹腹胡蜂 [Vespidae:Stenogastrinae]
Photograhed on 8 Aug 2013, Shing Mun, Hong Kong.
This is the only hover wasp (family Vespidae, subfamily Stenogastrinae) so far recorded in Hong Kong. This species was first identified in 2006 from specimens collected in northern Vietnam by Saito, Nguyen, Carpenter and Kojima. Till 2009 the species has been recorded only in Thailand, northern Vietnam, HK, Yanping (Fujian), and possibly Yunnan.
A relatively large hover wasp, E. nigra males have a body length of 18-20mm while females range from 19-21.5mm. This species is known to overwinter on the nest and males have been reported to overwinter with virgin females in envelope nests, mating upon emergence after winter dormancy. Colonies are usually founded by a solitary fertilized female and colony size is usually well under 10, as the sexually mature daughters leave the nest to start new colonies of their own. The nests found in HK rarely contain more than 4 individuals.
Hover wasps of the subfamily Stenogastrinae share a slender physique with a petiole that is often as long or longer than all other abdominal segments put together. This is an important physical adaptation that plays a vital role in egg-laying in females as they are able to ventrally bend their gastrum so far to touch the end of their abdomens to their mandibles, to collect a viscid abdominal substance into her mouth, and then to grasp the egg emerging. (For a more specific description of the oviposition behavior in stages please read here)
“A new Eustenoga[s]ter species (Hymenoptera, Vespidae, Stenogastrinae), the first hover wasp known to overwinter on the nest”, by Saito, Nguyen, Carpenter, and Kojima, dated 2006
“Notes on the biology and nests of a hover wasp Eustenogaster nigra (Vespidae:Stenogastrinae) in Hong Kong”, by Christophe Barthelemy, via HK Entomological Society
“Egg Deposition in the Genus Parischnogaster (Hymenoptera: Stenogastrinae)”, by S. Turillazzi
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