Posts Tagged ‘wasps’

At the time I photographed this little scene (at Bell Smith Springs, Illinois) I was myself unsure of the drama playing out on the oak gall. I sent pictures to wasp expert Hege Vårdal to see if my preliminary guess of a pair of gall parasites was worth anything. Her reply: (more…)

Read Full Post »

From the amazing BBC series Life in the Undergrowth:

Read Full Post »

From National Geographic’s In the Womb:

Read Full Post »


A young adult Comperia merceti, a parasitoid wasp in the family Encyrtidae, emerges from the egg case of its cockroach host.

photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 20D
ISO 100, f/11, 1/200 sec, flash diffused through tracing paper

Read Full Post »

Happy Halloween!

Braconid wasps attacking caterpillar – pumpkin by Lorenzo Rodriguez
Urbana, Illinois

Read Full Post »

Heterospilus sp., head & compound eye, Costa Rica

Here are some shots from my training session this morning at the Beckman Institute‘s Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM).  I haven’t used SEM for years- wow!  Great fun.  Click on each image to enlarge.


Read Full Post »

Meet the European Paper Wasp, Polistes dominulus.  Or is it Polistes dominula? Most biologists I know refer to this common Holarctic insect as P. dominulus, but I’ve just learned via Bugguide.net that the common spelling is a grammatical misunderstanding of the original latin:

So it’s P. dominula.  Damn taxonomists.

photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon 20D
ISO 100, f/13, 1/250 sec, flash diffused through tracing paper

Read Full Post »

Velvet ants- which aren’t really ants at all- are wingless wasps that parasitize ground-nesting bees. They are attractive insects, bearing bright colors and cute frizzy hair. But in case you are ever tempted to pick up one of those cuddly-looking little guys, let the photo above serve as a reminder about what lies at the tail end: an unusually long, flexible stinger. As you can see, the wasp is capable of swinging it back over her shoulder, with perfect aim, to zing the forceps. The venom is potent, and in some parts of the U.S. these insects are called “Cow-Killers”. As is always the case with solitary wasps, the sting is only deployed defensively. If you don’t bother the velvet ants, they won’t bother you.

When not attacking entomologists, the wasp in the top photo (a nocturnal species in the genus Sphaeropthalma) looks like this:

Thanks to Kevin Williams for the collection, the identification, and for holding the forceps.

Read Full Post »