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Old Oct 5, 2007, 10:37 PM   #1
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This is one of the wasps that has been huntinging caterpillars in my yard. They paralyze the caterpillars and takethem to their nests, where they place them to serve as living food for their developing young. There are a lot of them and they actively scour the foliage in search of prey.I suspected they werethe reason that while so many eggs have been laid by the Monarchs and Fritillaries, relatively few butterflies have emerged (although there have been enough to keep me busy). I had taken this picture a few weeks ago, but did nothing with it until a couple of days age when I saw one attacking a Monarch caterpillar (so much for their defences), which proved the point, so almost as an afterthought I posted it elsewhere and thought no more about it. I did not really appreciate the picture until a viewer's favorable comments about its technical merits made me take some time to study it as it was posted. I had not realized how beautifully colored and patterned the wasps were as they never stay still long enough for a close look or picture - except this once. When it alit in front of me I grabbed this one shot before trying to move to where I could see all of its legs, and of course it didn't wait. Disappointed, I forgot about it until the incident with the caterpillar (when naturally I didn't have a camera within reach) made me decide to post it elsewhere. Now I have come to think that some of you in this forum might like to see the little killer, too, so FWIW here it is.
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Old Oct 5, 2007, 11:40 PM   #2
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awesome wasp shot penolta. i have notice many always buzzing around my backyard in amongst the grasses and bushes. i notice that there is quite a variation in coloration. some are bright orange while others are more faded brown and even black looking. do they only eat caterpillars or do they also drink flower nectar?

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Old Oct 5, 2007, 11:59 PM   #3
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Thanks, Hung. Different wasps have different habits. These wasps do not eat caterpillars - they take them back to their nests for their young; the wasps that build honeycomp-like paper nests seal caterpillars andother insects they have paralysedin the cells with their young for them to feed on. I don't know what the adults of this particular wasp eat - they do visit flowers, but too far away and moving too rapidly for me to tell what they are doing. You may remember that some time ago I posted pictures of a large Digger Wasp sipping nectar from milkweed flowers, so I know that one does. http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...768963#p768963

Edit:I watched another of a similat species (with yellow dots on the Thorax rathet than the bars) working over flowers today, and it was sipping nectar, so I would assume the other one does too.
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