Grass-carrying Wasp

Isodontia mexicana

''Isodontia mexicana'', the grass-carrying wasp, is a species belonging to the family Sphecidae. It is mainly found throughout North America, but has become established in Europe, primarily France, Switzerland, Hungary, Italy and Spain.

The adults grow up to 18–20 millimetres long, the body is completely black, the thorax is quite hairy and the wings have a smoky-brown color. They can be encountered from early Summer through September. Females are larger and emerge as adults later in the season than males.

''Isodontia mexicana'' is a typical case of a species arrived accidentally from North America and slowly encroaching on the European continent, probably for the lack of predators or parasites.

These wasps build their nests in hollowed branches or in other natural cavities, often reusing the nests of other species. Then they line the inside with grass fragments or other plant fibers .

''I. mexicana'' mainly preys on grasshoppers or Tree crickets , choosing the small ones and carrying them to its nest to feed the emerging larvae with the living, but paralyzed Orthoptera.
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderHymenoptera
FamilySphecidae
GenusIsodontia
SpeciesI. mexicana
Photographed in
Switzerland