Blood wasp

Blood wasps are a species of predatory insects that operate in large swarms and demonstrate extreme sexual dimorphism. Male blood wasps (also known as "drones") are the size of a typical wasp or bee, while the female blood wasps (also known as "coordinators") can reach sizes similar to a wolf. They are native to numerous realms throughout the Sora and have been (typically accidentally) introduced to many others. Typically considered a pest by intelligent species, human interaction tends to nevertheless be rare because they prefer to nest in deep forests.  

Physical Description

All blood wasps have black heads with a splotchy crimson pattern which resembles fresh blood spatters. Their antennae are black with red tips while its eyes are dark black. It has large, black mandibles which are oversized for their heads and a long, narrow proboscis. They use these mandibles to rip and tear the flesh of their prey, with the proboscis used to drink liquids. The thorax is solid black with two gray, translucent wings. Its forelegs are red, while its mid and hind legs are black. The abdomen is long, thin, and curved, drawing comparisons to the claw of a dragon or the blade of a sickle. It has a stinger at the end of its abdomen which can sting to deliver a painful venom.   Drones are around 2 to 3 cm in total length with wingspans from 3 to 5 cm, being the size of most other wasp species. Unlike true wasps, drones do possess stingers. They are rather short and thin, around 3mm in length, and are capable of delivering a painful sting. Coordinators are significantly larger, reaching up to 1 meters in length. Their stingers are significantly longer in comparison to their bodies, as well, reaching .2-.25 meters in total length. Their wings are also significantly proportionally larger to support their much greater mass; with spans reaching up to 5 meters.  


The senses of blood wasps are poorly studied, but they appear to rely primarily on a sense of smell and touch to navigate. They are quite capable of maneuvering skillfully even in magical darkness, indicating they do not need to use their vision to navigate. They have the ability to detect food quite a distance away, being capable of locating prey up to a kilometer away.  

Life Cycle

Due to the great difference in size between males and females, blood wasps have a highly unusual reproductive cycle. During her lifetime, a coordinator will lay hundreds of "eggs" which are actually clusters of thousands of individual eggs encased in a spongy material. These eggs hatch into tiny larvae which consume the spongy case over the course of about two weeks. The larvae then spin tiny cocoons and, after another period of two weeks, hatch into drones. The drones typically live for six months, during which time they swarm around their mother, protect her, and hunt.   After about a decade of life, a coordinator will cease laying egg cases. She abandons her current contingent of drones, seeking out an unrelated swarm of blood wasp drones who have been abandoned by their coordinator. Once she does, the drones will swarm her. She will then crush the drones, typically by rolling on the ground or rubbing against a tree or rock. Using her proboscis, she will then suck up the fluid crushed out of the drones, then use it to fertilize herself. Over the next few weeks, she will hunt six to ten individual prey items, burying each in a hole and spraying it with her venom to deter scavengers. After about a month, she will be too swollen with eggs to continue flying. She will return to each buried prey and lay a single, watermelon-sized egg on it. Since it has been a month or more since she has last eaten, she will typically be too weak to do much other than crawl away from the last laid egg and die.   A large female larva will hatch from the egg after a few days, consuming the prey over the course of a few weeks. It then pupates inside the nest, emerging around a month later as a mature coordinator. She will be about half of her maximum size, but will immediately begin laying egg cases which hatch into drones to help her hunt.  


Blood wasps are carnivorous, feeding entirely on hunted prey. They typically target animals such as deer, pigs, monitor lizards, or other medium-sized mammals, reptiles, and birds. However, they are opportunistic and will consume anything they can kill, including people. They mostly live in remote wilderness areas, typically in dense forests or jungles, though they sometimes nest close to farmland or grazing pastures where they threaten livestock.   Every day, the coordinator will fly through the canopy, seeking out prey. When she locates one, her drones will move upwind of it while the coordinator will come from downwind. The appearance of a coordinator typically causes the prey to panic and flee, straight into the waiting swarm of drones who will begin stinging it relentlessly. This typically overwhelms the prey entirely, though the coordinator will help finish off tenacious prey. The drones will lap up the blood oozing from the numerous sting wounds while the coordinator eats the flesh. If there is any flesh left after she has sated herself, the drones will typically strip it from the bones.  


Blood wasps are widely distributed throughout the Sora and can be found on most realms which have large forests or jungles. They prefer temperate, dryer areas, though they can be found in warmer, wetter climates as well. They are completely absent from arctic climates and are rarely found in areas with long winters or periods of cold.   They build large hives in the upper branches of trees composed of chewed up wood pulp and mud. The hives resemble round, rough jugs with a single entrance. The hives are for the protection of the drones only; the coordinators rest on the largest, sturdiest branch in the tree. When not hunting, blood wasps spend the majority of their time in or near their hives. During inclement weather, the drones remain in the hive until the weather passes, while the coordinator will bury herself in the leaf litter on the ground as protection.

Cover image: by Denis Khusainov


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