Sunday, September 4, 2016

Common Thread-waist Wasp

This was on the rocky bank of Bull Creek.  It moved around rapidly but held still for shots from above.  It is a Thread-Waisted Wasp of the genus Ammophila.  They have some white or silvery dashes on the sides of the thorax which you can barely glimpse in the view below.  Based on its size of over an inch long, it probably is A. procera, the Common Thread-waisted wasp.

These wasps are wide spread in the Eastern US and fly from May through October in southern states.  The adults feed on nectar and the larvae are fed caterpillars captured by the females.  Like the Eremnophila aureonotata that was in the previous blog, they lay their eggs in a burrow and may be followed by satellite flies who lay their eggs on the freshly delivered caterpillar.  This is a form of cleptoparasitism (parasitism by theft), feeding their young of food captured by another species.
Senotaina vigilans - Tom Murray
"Paging Dr. Frankenstein" - Tom Murray
As usual, "Bug Eric" Eaton adds some interesting details.  The satellite flies are in the "Flesh Fly" family, Sarcophagidae.  Senotainia vigilans is a common suspect and the pictures by Tom Murray are to good to pass up.  It looks a Diptera's version of Frankenstein with the two halves of the head sewn together.  Some things you just can't make up.

Eric included the link to this interesting clip on solitary wasps which led me to this fascinating video that shows not only showing A. procera in action but the arrival of the flesh flies.

Thanks as always to "BudEric" and to Tom Murray for generously sharing his photography through Creative Commons.

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