Sand Wasp – Bicyrtes quadrifasciata

Sand Wasp – Bicyrtes quadrifasciata
Order Hymenoptera – Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies / Family Crabronidae

Bees & Wasps Index | Parasitica | Aculeata | Symphyta
Live adult wasps photographed in the wild at DuPage County, Illinois. Size: 15mm
Sand Wasp - Bicyrtes quadrifasciata
This wasp is unusual amidst the hymenoptera in that it has three undeveloped ocelli on its head rather than the usual formation. Ocelli are simple eyes many insects use in conjunction with their compound eyes; they have been shown to be much faster in action and much more sensitive to light and shadow than their larger, more complex cousins.  Most Hymenoptera have a trio of ocelli on the top of their head.

"The female constructs her nest alone in sandy areas and provides for her offspring; nests are often placed so closely together that the wasps may be said to form colonies. There is considerable diversity in the selection of food for their young, some species feeding them on flies, some on the nymphs of true bugs, while still others feed their young on insects of various orders and families." [1]

Sand Wasp - Bicyrtes quadrifasciata

Sand Wasp - head detail

Undeveloped ocelli are visible on top of the head

  1. Smith, M. R. Source: Annals of the Entomological Society of America, Volume 16, Number 3, September 1923 , pp. 238-246(9), THE LIFE HISTORY AND HABITS OF BICYRTES QUADRIFASCIATA

Order Hymenoptera: Bees, Wasps, & Ants

Hymenoptera (Latin for membrane wing) is a vast assemblage of insects second only to Coleoptera (beetles) in the number of described species. Hymenoptera number some 115,000 species – of which 18,000 live in North America. Hymenopterans inhabit a wide variety of habitats, and show an incredible diversity in size, behavior, structure and color.
Insects & Spiders | Bees & Wasps Index | Bees & Wasps Main | Beetles Index