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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Buckwheat and the Wasp it Attracts

The red buckwheat is still blooming and on a recent bright sunny day was attracting this Great Golden Digger Wasp, Sphex ichneumoneus, to feed on nectar. The adult wasp feeds exclusively on nectar, but the female hunts crickets and katydids to stock the underground nest where her young will develop, hidden somewhere in the garden. Fearsome as this wasp might appear, it's quite docile and doesn't seem to mind the attentions of a human observer. The individual in this photo may be a male, based on the mostly black colored hind femur (info found on bugguide post specific to west coast S. ichneumoneus).

I rarely see many of these wasps, just a few each season. Maybe they defend their territory and keep others of their kind out.

1 comment:

Christine said...

Wonderful! The ones hanging around here have a fully orange abdomen (thorax? I need to study my vocabulary) and blue-black wings. They can be hard to photograph, but I love how they go from flower to flower, moving their head back and forth to collect nectar.