Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Plenty of wasps on a desert milkweed.

In the long overdue heat of summer, the desert milkweed plants at the arboretum are in bloom and attracting lots of bugs. Just this morning, I took pictures of 3 different wasps on a single plant. (actually, there was a 4th, bug I didn't get a picture of it.)

Pepsis species. Tarantula wasp. It's a female. You can tell by her curly antennae.

They like to nectar on milkweed. They catch tarantulas to feed to their young. We haven't noticed any tarantulas at the arboretum, but I can always hope!

On the same plant, a large Polistes wasp.

Then, on the same plant (!) but also moving among adjacent plants, was this wasp that I identified as Ammophilia. These wasps catch and paralyze caterpillars, put them in a burrow under the sand, and lay an egg on them. The baby wasp hatches with a ready food supply.
I have also been finding lots of caterpillars in that area of the arboretum, so maybe that's what the wasps are after.

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