T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Wasp (Yellow Flower Wasp) Radumeris tasmaniensis

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Super Family: Vespoidea
Family: Scoliidae
Genus: Radumeris
Species: R. tasmaniensis
Scientific name: Radumeris tasmaniensis
Common name: Yellow Flower Wasp, Hairy flower wasp, Scoliid wasp, Guinea wasp.

Radumeris tasmaniensis is a solitary, exotic, ectoparasitic wasp (it lives on the outside of its host). It is a recent invasive species from eastern Australia and Papua New Guinea and was found to have established in Northland in 2000. This species is now established throughout Northland and other parts of New Zealand including coastal habitats at Muriwai, Bay of Plenty, Raglan, Kaipara and Kawhia. Indications are that it is slowly moving southwards down the coasts of the North Island. It is not known if was blown to New Zealand or it slipped in through our borders.

The female wasp is hairy and is of large size, 3 cm long and with a wingspan of up to 4 cm. The abdomen is orange with narrow black stripes across its width and the thorax is a dark brown. The female has short antennae which are about the width of her head.
The male wasp is smaller at about 2 cm long with a 2.5 cm wingspan. Its abdomen is narrow than the females. There are alternating black and yellow stripes of similar width on the upper and lower surfaces of the abdomen. The male’s antennae are longer than the females, about half the length of the forewings. Both male and females have orange to brownish wings, with very fine veins towards the wing tips.
Radumeris tasmaniensis have a distinctive flying pattern; they fly on a horizontal plane only a few inches above the ground in a regular circular "figure 8" course.

The adult wasps feed on the gum from various plants and trees. Some of the plants that the wasps have been seen feeding on are Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium), Canadian fleabane (Conyza canadensis), North Cape five-finger (Pseudopanax “Surville”), Fleabane (Conyza albida), Eucalyptus species, Toetoe (Cortaderia splendens) and Pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa).

The Sand scarab beetle (Pericoptus truncates) is now threatened in Northland, New Zealand by the Radumeris tasmaniensis which parasitises on larvae. The female stings and paralyses the scarab larva and lays eggs on it. The wasp larva then slowly consumes the paralysed beetle larva. In Queensland, Radumeris tasmaniensis is a major controlling parasitoid of many of the sugarcane pest scarab beetles. Because it has multiple host species there is now concern that our other native beetles could be affected by its presence.

A female wasp.

A photograph of a small swarm of male Radumeris tasmaniensis taken in Whatipu, Auckland. 2008

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and Information: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/