What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Three of the four recognised subfamilies of cuckoo wasps occur in Australasia, and these are often easier to identify than the family. Chrysidinae are the most common and have only three exposed metasomal terga, are predominantly metallic green or blue, violet or red, and are coarsely sculptured. They are mostly parasitoids or cleptoparasitoids in the nests of solitary Apoidea and Vespidae. Loboscelidiinae, comprising only four described species in Australia, are restricted to the Oriental-Australian tropics, have a smooth polished brown surface, frons with a frontal shelf, a bizarre prolonged vertex, large tegulae, and wrinkled yellow fore wings with reduced venation. They parasitise the eggs of stick insects (Phasmatodea). Amiseginae, with 13 described species in Australia, are sexually dimorphic in that females have minute wings, a large pronotum, small mesoscutum, and parasitise phasmatid eggs in leaf-litter. The males are similar to those of Chrysidinae but are non-metallic.


They are small to medium-sized wasps (3–  20 mm) that are characterised by having five or fewer exposed metasomal tergites, the remaining segments forming a normally concealed telescopic tube, the pronotum with an anterior flange, and the posterolateral corners of the pronotum usually separated from the tegulae. In addition, there is little or no obvious sexual dimorphism in most species, and both sexes are usually fully winged.


Although there are about 3,000 species of cuckoo wasps worldwide, fewer than 70 species have been described for Australia, and they are absent from New Zealand.

Further information about the Chrysididae can be found in Finnamore & Brothers 1993, Kimsey & Bohart 1990, Naumann 1991 and Riek 1955.

  • Chrysididae sp.

  • Chrysididae sp.

  • Stilbum sp.

  • Cleptes sp.

  • Loboscelida sp.

  • Chrysididae sp.

  • Cuckoo Wasp

  • cuckoo wasp