What is Street Creatures? This is the game I run on Twitter every Friday. I’ve
collected all the past quizzes here in one place so you can either relive them, or play
them for the first time.
How does it work? Provided are four, seemingly unrelated clues, that are all
connected by a wild organism that can be found in a city. Look at the four clues,
do some research, and when you think you’ve figured it out, click on ‘Answer’
to reveal what connects the clues, and how they are connected.
Cuckoo Wasp (Chrysididae)
One particular species of cuckoo wasp, Chrysis angolensis, arrived in North America from Africa. How? They parasitized mud dauber wasps who were nesting in the wood beams of sailboats and hitched a ride!
These tiny wasps have to break into bees nests to lay their eggs and they don’t even have their own stingers. To defend themselves they have pitted exoskeletons to protect themselves from their victims stings and bites.
Another nifty defense cuckoo wasps have is the underside of their abdomen is concave, allowing them to roll into a ball and tuck themselves inside. The parasitized bee is forced to pick up the wasp, carry it and dump it outside its nest. It will just return again!
Most cuckoo bees are brightly colored and metallic. Why? Nobody knows. Some cuckoo wasps can trick the host bee into leaving it alone with an odor, so they are free to be flamboyantly colored.
This has to do with their family name, Chrysididae. ‘Chrysis’ being derived from Greek meaning ‘gold vessel, gold-embroidered dress’.