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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Old stuff 2008 2: wasp tidbits

A few days in August I spent some time questing after wasps which seemed to be having a speciation event in our yard: lots of new-to-me types of wasps flitting around.

The first one is small (less than 1/2 inch) and feeds on pollen or nectar in clouds around certain flowers. As night approaches, these wasps grasp a stem with the mandibles; the body becomes rigid, sticking out from the plant at a regular angle. This seems to be where they rest for the night.

The second wasp pictured I believe is Campsomeris tolteca, a flower wasp. The adults feed on nectar as seen here; the females lay eggs on beetle grubs (often genus phyllophaga) which the wasp larva then devours.

The third wasp is about 3/4", active, restless, wing-twitchy, unidentified.

I also saw a large greenish wasp relentlessly but unphotographably cruising the underbrush for prey, and a smaller blue wasp collecting mud, maybe Chlorion aerarium, the Blue Mud Wasp.

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