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Wasp Beetle Clytus arietis

Some flies pretend to be dangerous by immitating wasps or other dangerous insects. In this way they hope to be left alone by enemies. Some beetles try the same trick, like this Wasp Beetle. It looks like a dangerous wasp. But when you look carefully you will notice there are shields and no visible wings. This means this is a beetle and not a wasp. So, it can not even sting you, it just uses a wasp's colours to trick potential enemies.

This Wasp Beetle hardly measures 15 mm. Even though there are other Wasp Beetles, no species in Western Europe is such a good immitator of a wasp. The body is black. There are yellow lines, which even run on the underside of the body. The legs are red. And the antennae are special too. First of all they are quite short for a Longhorn Beetle. Secondly the are very flexible. The beetle constantly moves its antennae, just like many wasps do. Adult beetles can be seen in May, June and July mainly. The males are strict vegetarians, usually eating pollen only. The females are known to catch other insects from time to time. They probably need additional proteins to make the eggs. Adult Wasp Beetles live for a few weeks only. The larvae live for some one and a half years in rotting and moulding trees and wood. They prefer beech, but can be found in other trees as well.