Micromeriella marginella modesta, copyright Steve Wells.

Belongs within: Euaculeata.
Contains: Microscolia, Scolia, Liacos, Austroscolia, Megascolia, Carinoscolia, Diliacos, Campsomeris, Campsomeriella, Colpa, Dielis, Phalerimeris, Sericocampsomeris, Megacampsomeris.

The hairy digger wasps of Hong Kong
Published 14 January 2022

Taylor, C., & C. Barthélémy. 2021. A review of the digger wasps (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Scoliidae) of Hong Kong, with description of one new species and a key to known species. European Journal of Taxonomy 786: 1–92.

On Christmas Eve, I received an e-mail from Christophe Barthélémy in Hong Kong to tell me that we’d gotten a Christmas present. Our big paper on the scoliid wasps of Hong Kong was now freely, publicly available! In this paper, we reviewed all sixteen species of Scoliidae known from the Hong Kong SAR to date, providing detailed descriptions and photographs of each. Nine of these had not previously been recorded from the region; one represented an entirely novel species. We also provided a detailed identification key and clarified some of the often convoluted taxonomy of this family.

Liacos erythrosoma, one of the larger scoliid species found in Hong Kong, copyright Jeffrey Cfy.

The Scoliidae, sometimes referred to as the hairy digger wasps or hairy flower wasps, are often large, striking wasps (the largest species found in Hong Kong get close to an inch in length) that are most often seen by observers when they visit flowers for food. They differ from other wasps in the structure of the wings which are shaped into radiating folds (often referred to as ‘pseudoveins’) towards the outer margins. In life, the wings have an iridescent appearance. Female scoliids are robust insects with powerful legs. This is so they can burrow into the ground in search of hosts for their larvae which develop as parasitoids on the larvae of scarabaeid beetles. Male scoliids are generally smaller and more slender than females. In some species (particularly members of the tribe Campsomerini), males can look very different from females, to the extent that it can be all but impossible to link one with the other in isolation. Males of some species can sometimes be found in large numbers as they form swarms in search of females.

Mating pair of Phalerimeris phalerata (male on top), perhaps Hong Kong’s commonest scoliid species. Copyright Daphne Wong.

Christophe and I had lit upon the idea of producing a review of the family as I was attempting to identify specimens collected as part of the Hong Kong mangrove survey. Christophe already had an extensive number of scoliids as part of his own amateur collection; these formed the greater part of the material we used. One of our primary challenges was making sense of the group’s taxonomy. As well as the aforementioned difficulties in matching males to females, scoliid taxonomy has its own individual tangles. The system has historically been beset with confusion, questionable decisions, and disregard for priority. Species have often been subdivided into a bewildering array of subspecies, varieties and formae, often on the basis of quite superficial differences and often with little apparent consideration as to whether they represented distinct populations (individuals of different ‘subspecies’ may often be found at the same location). As a result, I had to spend a lot of time digging into archaic publications to make sure they had been correctly quoted by their successors. Fortunately (as long time readers of this site will probably know), this is exactly the sort of thing that I love doing*.

*With a shout-out here to the Biodiversity Heritage Library. An absolutely brilliant resource that has just revolutionised the way we do literature research.

While I mostly took care of the taxonomy, key, and the first drafts of the descriptions, Christophe produced the photos, distribution maps, and revisions of the descriptions after I returned to Australia (including male genital dissections of all the species we had on hand). The end result is a paper I feel very proud of. Thank you to Benoit Guénard and the Entomology lab of Hong Kong University for providing access to resources, and if you have any interest in the wonderful world of Hong Kong hairy flower wasps, you can check out the final product here.

Systematics of Scoliidae
<==Scoliidae [Scholiites, Scoliadae, Scolida, Scolides, Scolies, Scoliides]
| |--Proscolia Rasnitsyn 1977TB21
| | |--P. archaica Rasnitsyn 1977Z06
| | `--P. spectator Day 1981Z06
| `--Cretaproscolia Rasnitsyn & Martínez-Delclòs 1999Z06
| |--*C. josai Rasnitsyn & Martínez-Delclòs 1999Z06
| `--C. asiatica Zhang 2006Z06
| |--Archaeoscolia Rasnitsyn 1993RM-D00
| | |--A. hispanica Rasnitsyn & Martínez-Delclòs 1999RM-D00
| | `--A. senilis Rasnitsyn 1993RM-D00
| `--Cretoscolia Rasnitsyn 1993RM-D00
| |--C. conquensis Rasnitsyn & Martínez-Delclòs 2000RM-D00
| |--C. montsecana Rasnitsyn & Martínez-Delclòs 1999RM-D00
| |--C. patiens Rasnitsyn 1993RM-D00
| `--C. promissiva Rasnitsyn 1993RM-D00
| |--ScoliaLAHCC21
| |--LiacosLAHCC21
| |--AustroscoliaLAHCC21
| |--MegascoliaLAHC21
| |--CarinoscoliaLAHCC21
| |--DiliacosE11
| `--Laeviscolia Betrem 1928E11
| `--*L. frontalis (Saussure 1854) [=Scolia frontalis, S. (Triscolia) frontalis]E11
| |--L. f. frontalis (see below for synonymy)E11
| |--L. f. nicoladonii (Dalla Torre 1897) (see below for synonymy)E11
| `--L. f. obscuriceps (Turner 1909) [=Scolia (Triscolia) frontalis obscuriceps]E11
`--Campsomerini [Campsomerinae, Colpinae, Trielidini, Trielini]LAHCC21
| i. s.: CampsomerisN91
| CampsomeriellaT72
| ColpaLAHC21
| Trielis de Saussure 1863LAHC21 (see below for synonymy)
| `--T. anthracina (Burmeister 1854)E11 (see below for synonymy)
| Laevicampsomeris Betrem 1933E11
| |--*L. nigerrima (Smith 1860)E11 (see below for synonymy)
| | |--L. n. nigerrimaB28
| | `--‘Campsomeris’ n. ambigua Smith 1861B28
| |--L. bonguensis [=Campsomeris (Laevicampsomeris) bonguensis]P70
| |--L. brandti (Krombein 1963) [=Campsomeris (Laevicampsomeris) brandti]P70
| |--‘Campsomeris (Dielis) captiva Smith 1861B28
| |--L. formosa (Guérin-Méneville 1835)E11 (see below for synonymy)
| |--L. laglaizei (Betrem 1928)P70, B28 [=Campsomeris (Dielis) laglaizeiB28]
| `--L. solomonis (Krombein 1963) [=Campsomeris (Laevicampsomeris) solomonis]P70
| Pseudotrielis Betrem 1928 [incl. Rucarcana Argaman 1996]E11
| |--*P. zonata (Smith 1855) (see below for synonymy)E11
| |--P. congener (Turner 1909) [=Campsomeris flavidula congener, *Rucarcana congener]E11
| |--P. flavidula (Smith 1855)E11 (see below for synonymy)
| |--P. gilesi (Turner 1909) [=Campsomeris (Trielis) gilesi]E11
| `--P. waterstoni (Betrem 1928) [=Campsomeris (Pseudotrielis) waterstoni]E11
| DielisB28
| Trisciloa Gribodo 1893 [=Tetrasciloa (l. c.)]E11
| |--*T. saussurei Gribodo 1893E11
| `--T. ferruginea (Fabricius 1775) (see below for synonymy)E11
| Tristimeris javana (Lepeletier 1845)TB21 (see below for synonymy)
| |--T. j. javanaB28
| `--‘Campsomeris’ j. sitoliensis Betrem 1928B28
| `--MegacampsomerisLY21
`--Micromeriella Betrem 1972LY21, LAHCC21 [incl. Micromeris Betrem in Bradley 1964 (n. n.)LAHC21]
|--*M. marginella (Klug 1810)LAHC21 (see below for synonymy)
| |--M. m. marginellaB28
| |--M. m. bariensisLAHC21
| |--M. m. billitonensis (Tullgren 1904)LAHC21, B41 (see below for synonymy)
| |--‘Campsomeris’ m. flavopicta Betrem 1928B28
| |--M. m. modesta (Smith 1855)LAHC21, B41 (see below for synonymy)
| |--M. m. terminata (Sm. 1858)LAHC21, B41 (see below for synonymy)
| `--M. m. thaianaLAHC21
`--‘Campsomeris’ antjolensis Betrem 1928B28

Scoliidae incertae sedis:
Crioscolia alcioneJB13
|--M. dimidiataR26
`--M. tripunctataPK17 (see below for synonymy)
Pygodasis bistrimaculataLY21
Bellimeris bella (Bingham 1897)CL22 (see below for synonymy)
|--M. guerinii Lucas 1848E12
|--M. oraniensis Lucas 1848E12
|--M. rousselii Guér. 1838L49
`--M. sexfasciata [=Scolia sexfasciata; incl. Elis cylindrica, E. volvulus]L49

Bellimeris bella (Bingham 1897)CL22 [=Elis bellaLAHC21, Campsomeris (Megacampsomeris) bellaB28, Megacampsomeris (Bellimeris) bellaLAHC21, Sericocampsomeris bellaLAHC21]

Laevicampsomeris formosa (Guérin-Méneville 1835)E11 [=Scolia formosaE11, Campsomeris (Pseudotrielis) formosaB28, C. formosusE11, Dielis formosusE11, Elis (Dielis) formosaE11; incl. Scolia culta Smith 1860E11, Campsomeris (Pseudotrielis) formosa cultaB28, S. (Discolia) cultaE11, C. (Dielis) formosoides Betrem 1928E11, Campsomeris (Dielis) subopaca Tuner 1909E11, S. subopacaB28]

*Laevicampsomeris nigerrima (Smith 1860)E11 [=Scolia nigerrimaE11, Campsomeris (Dielis) nigerrimaE11, B28, Discolia nigerrimaE11]

*Laeviscolia frontalis frontalis (Saussure 1854) [incl. Scolia bimaculata Smith 1855, S. (Discolia) bimaculata, S. coronata Smith 1855]E11

Laeviscolia frontalis nicoladonii (Dalla Torre 1897) [=Scolia nicoladonii, S. (Triscolia) frontalis nicoladonii, S. laeviceps Kirby 1889 non Smith 1855]E11

Meria tripunctataPK17 [=Tiphia tripunctataL49, Scolia (Meria) tripunctataG20; incl. Bethylus latreillaeiL49, Tachus staphylinusL49]

*Micromeriella marginella (Klug 1810)LAHC21 [=Scolia marginellaLAHC21, Campsomeris (Campsomeriella) marginellaB41, C. (Dielis) marginellaT72, C. (Micromeris) marginellaT72; incl. C. marginella formosana var. flavocincta Betrem 1928LAHC21, C. marginella formosana Betrem 1928B28, C. (Campsomeriella) marginella formosanaT72, Micromeriella marginella formosanaLAHC21, Elis (Campsomeris) hirsuta de Saussure 1858LAHC21, E. (Dielis) hirsutaLAHC21, Scolia hirsutaLAHC21, Campsomeris parvula Lepeletier 1845B28]

Micromeriella marginella billitonensis (Tullgren 1904)LAHC21, B41 [=Scolia billitonensisB28, Campsomeris (Campsomeriella) marginella billitonensisB41]

Micromeriella marginella modesta (Smith 1855)LAHC21, B41 [=Campsomeris (Campsomeriella) marginella modestaB41, C. (Micromeris) marginella modestaP70; incl. Scolia manilae Ashmaed 1904B28]

Micromeriella marginella terminata (Sm. 1858)LAHC21, B41 [=Campsomeris (Campsomeriella) marginella terminataB41; incl. Scolia minuta Smith 1858B28]

Pseudotrielis flavidula (Smith 1855)E11 [=Scolia flavidulaE11, Campsomeris (Pseudotrielis) flavidulaB28, C. (Trielis) flavidulaE11, Trisciloa (P.) flavidulaE11; incl. Elis (Trielis) australensis Saussure & Sichel 1864E11, Scolia australensisB28, S. (Triselis) australiensis (l. c.)E11, Elis (Trielis) liturata Saussure & Sichel 1864E11]

*Pseudotrielis zonata (Smith 1855) [=Scolia zonata, Campsomeris (*Pseudotrielis) zonata, Elis (Trielis) zonata]E11

Trielis de Saussure 1863LAHC21 [incl. Australelis Betrem 1962E11, Campsomeria Bradley & Betrem 1966 (n. n.)E11]

Trielis anthracina (Burmeister 1854)E11 [=Scolia anthracinaE11, Campsomeria (Australelis) anthracinaE11, Campsomeris (Dielis) anthracinaE11, Elis (Trielis) anthracinaE11; incl. E. consanguinea Saussure 1854E11, Campsomeris (Australelis) anthracina f. consanguineaE11, Campsomeris (*Trielis) anthracina consanguineaB28, Scolia consanguineaE11, Trielis (*Australelis) consanguineaE11, Elis (Trielis) orientalis Cameron 1892E11, Campsomeris orientalisE11, Scolia orientalisE11]

Trisciloa ferruginea (Fabricius 1775) [=Scolia ferruginea, Campsomeris (Trielis) ferruginea, Elis (T.) ferruginea, Sc. (Triselis) ferruginea (l. c.), Sphex ferruginea; incl. Sc. fulva Gray 1832, Elis (Trielis) fulva, Triscolia rufa Mocsáry 1896]E11

Tristimeris javana (Lepeletier 1845)TB21 [=Campsomeris (Dielis) javanaP70, B28; incl. Colpa iris Lepeletier 1845TB21, Campsomeris (Dielis) irisB28, Elis irisB28, Scolia irisB28]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B28] Betrem, J. G. 1928. Monographie der Indo-Australischen Scoliiden mit zoogeographischen Betrachtungen. H. Veenman & Zonen: Wageningen.

[B41] Betrem, J. G. 1941. Étude systématique des Scoliidae de Chine et leurs relations avec les autres groupes de Scoliidae. Notes d’Entomologie Chinoise 8 (4): 47–188.

[BS72] Bohart, R. M., & R. O. Schuster. 1972. A host record for Fedtschenkia (Hymenoptera: Sapygidae). Pan-Pacific Entomologist 48 (2): 149.

[CL22] Chen, H.-Y., Z. Liu, Z. Wang, S.-J. Yang & S.-X. Luo. 2022. Review of the genus Sericocampsomeris Betrem, 1941 (Hymenoptera, Scoliidae) from China. Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift 69 (2): 125–138.

[E11] Elliott, M. G. 2011. Annotated catalogue of the Australian Scoliidae (Hymenoptera). Technical Reports of the Australian Museum, Online 22: 1–17.

[E12] Evenhuis, N. L. 2012. Publication and dating of the Exploration Scientifique de l’Algérie: Histoire Naturelle des Animaux Articulés (1846–1849) by Pierre Hippolyte Lucas. Zootaxa 3448: 1–61.

[G20] Goldfuss, G. A. 1820. Handbuch der Naturgeschichte vol. 3. Handbuch der Zoologie pt 1. Johann Leonhard Schrag: Nürnberg.

[JB13] Johnson, B. R., M. L. Borowiec, J. C. Chiu, E. K. Lee, J. Atallah & P. S. Ward. 2013. Phylogenomics resolves evolutionary relationships among ants, bees, and wasps. Current Biology 23: 2058–2062.

[LAHC21] Liu, Z., C. Van Achterberg, J.-H. He & X.-X. Chen. 2021. A checklist of Scoliidae (Insecta: Hymenoptera) from China. Zootaxa 4966 (2): 101–126.

[LAHCC21] Liu, Z., C. Van Achterberg, J.-H. He, X.-X. Chen & H.-Y. Chen. 2021. Illustrated keys to Scoliidae (Insecta, Hymenoptera, Scolioidea) from China. ZooKeys 1025: 139–175.

[LY21] Liu, Z., S.-J. Yang, Y.-Y. Wang, Y.-Q. Peng, H.-Y. Chen & S.-X. Luo. 2021. Tackling the taxonomic challenges in the family Scoliidae (Insecta, Hymenoptera) using an integrative approach: a case study from southern China. Insects 12: 892.

[L49] Lucas, H. 1849. Exploration Scientifique de l’Algérie pendant les années 1840, 1841, 1842 publiée par ordre du gouvernement et avec le concours d’une commission académique. Sciences physiques. Zoologie. II. Histoire naturelle des animaux articulés. Troisième partie. Insectes (suite). Imprimerie Nationale: Paris.

[N91] Naumann, I. D. 1991. Hymenoptera (wasps, bees, ants, sawflies). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers 2nd ed. vol. 2 pp. 916–1000. Melbourne University Press: Carlton (Victoria).

[PK17] Peters, R. S., L. Krogmann, C. Mayer, A. Donath, S. Gunkel, K. Meusemann, A. Kozlov, L. Podsiadlowski, M. Petersen, R. Lanfear, P. A. Diez, J. Heraty, K. M. Kjer, S. Klopfstein, R. Meier, C. Polidori, T. Schmitt, S. Liu, X. Zhou, T. Wappler, J. Rust, B. Misof & O. Niehuis. 2017. Evolutionary history of the Hymenoptera. Current Biology 27 (7): 1013–1018.

[P70] Petersen, B. 1970. Some records of Indo-Australian Scoliidae (Hym.), with notes on a case of character release in a Campsomeria species. Entomologiske Meddelelser 38: 15–67.

[RM-D00] Rasnitsyn, A. P., & X. Martínez-Delclòs. 2000. Wasps (Insecta: Vespida = Hymenoptera) from the Early Cretaceous of Spain. Acta Geologica Hispanica 35 (1–2): 65–95.

[R26] Risso, A. 1826. Histoire naturelle des principales productions de l’Europe méridionale et particulièrement de celles des environs de Nice et des Alpes maritimes vol. 5. F.-G. Levrault: Paris.

[TB21] Taylor, C., & C. Barthélémy. 2021. A review of the digger wasps (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Scoliidae) of Hong Kong, with description of one new species and a key to known species. European Journal of Taxonomy 786: 1–92.

[T72] Tsuneki, K. 1972. Studies on the scoliid wasps of eastern Asia (Hymenoptera). Etizenia 62: 1–41.

[Z06] Zhang, J. 2006. A proscoliine wasp (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Scoliidae) from Shandong peninsula, East Asia. Cretaceous Research 27: 788–791.

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