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23 August 2017

A Wasp that Does Not Sting

Found the coolest bug the other day; it freaked me out. I mean, check out that "stinger" -- the thing looks like a scorpion, for crying out loud! I almost didn't take the picture, but it was just sitting there, and had been sitting there, and I was feeling a bit brave. So I risked getting close to that thing to get the picture. And it didn't even wiggle when I put my phone up (kind of) close. Turns out, I didn't need to worry: they don't sting, crazy hind end notwithstanding.

Then I didn't think too much more about it for the moment, because I was watching kids. And the kids were watching the animals in the little farm thing in the park. And it was good. We pondered llama fur and frolicking piggies. Discussed why we shouldn't try to feed them. The llamas are new to the little zoo thingy, and we happened to stop by a while back when they were brand new, and you could see how uncomfortable they were, last time we visited. This time, they were chill. One of them was sitting down. The other was snacking. Neither one gave us a second glance. It was cool to see how nicely they'd adjusted to having kids come and ooh and aaaah over them. Mine sure did!

Later, we saw this cool caterpillar. He could really move! I forgot to ask Facebook what kind he is, but I think he's cool, even not knowing what he'll grow up into.

 I did go find out about the big black scorpion-looking wasp thing. The nice folks on the Facebook bug group told me it's an American Pelecinid Wasp. And it does not sting. Which blew my mind, what with a huge singer-looking thinger there at the back. The one I saw is a female, and that huge abdomen is for probing the ground-- she's looking for grubs, and if she finds one, she nails it with an egg. I don't feel sorry for the grubs. Eww.

Turns out, Pelecinids are cool wasps: the overwhelming majority of them are female. (Can I just say here how little I ever expected to think that any wasp is cool??) The nice folks who gave me the ID also pointed out this site, which says that there are so many females that scientists wonder if the species manages to mostly reproduce without the males. Apparently, you mostly see them in late summer. And that's when I saw mine. At a city park. The article makes it sound like that might be less likely, but it's one of several "wild" parks in our area, with a lot of trees, so it probably looks like "woodland edges" to the critters that live there. I love our wild parks: just perfect for our nature study.

I haven't done it yet, but I'm planning to use this photo to put the Pelecinid Wasp in my nature book. It's just too cool to forget, and drawing it will help me to remember. Our walks are so nice. Even when we don't get our notebooks out, I always feel like it's time well spent when we get out and go look at nature.

But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:  Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? 

-Job 12:7-9

1 comment:

Anne Chovies said...

A wasp that doesn't sting! That is cool. The few times I've had run ins with those that do sting I've come away with a good, healthy respect for them, and a desire to keep my distance from them.


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