Sunday, November 7, 2010

Last survivors


Despite the fact that we've had several frosts, there are still some wasps around, congregating on the flowers of ivy that provide a last chance for them to find nectar.

I found this wasp, which I think is a tree wasp Vespula sylvestris, crawling over the ivy flowers just as the rising sun melted the frost on the grass.

The dense covering of hairs on the wasp's body must provide some insulation against low temperatures, and it probably spent the night under the glossy, waterproof leaves of the ivy plant, which provides an overwintering site for all manner of invertebrates.

For more on the curious back-to-front life cycle of ivy, flowering in autumn and producing fruits in spring, click here.

16 comments:

  1. Excellent short blog, we were looking at the odd wasp and flies on the Ivy on our walk this afternoon.

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  2. Really nice pictures! is impressive as you see the villus of this wasp.
    greetings..

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  3. What a hairy wasp! It looks like a male, judging by the large size of his antennae.

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  4. Stunning photographs! Ivy seems to be nature's way of ensuring food supply to her creatures even in hard times.Your article in BBC Tees Nature spot is very interesting.

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  5. This is a superb wasp. It really is a hairy beast.

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  6. What a nice-looking wasp, Phil. There was a fascinating Living World programme on Radio 4 on Sunday morning about the Potter Wasp.

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  7. Wonderful pictures, the detail is amazing.

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  8. Brilliant photos Phil. I've been surprised to see the odd one about from time to time.

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  9. Ivy's an absolute magnet for insects, isn't it David?

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  10. Thanks Dejemonos sorprender, wasps are easy to photograph after they've been chilled by a cold night!

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  11. Hi Blackbird, I think the condensed moisture on the hairs has emphasised their presence

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  12. Hi lotusleaf, it's one of those plants that's so common that it is taken for granted, but it's a vital resource for wildlife

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  13. Hi Adrian, they're very relucatnt to fly when it's cold and they are low on energy supplies..

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  14. Thanks for the tip-off Emma, I'll check and see if it's on iPlayer..

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  15. Thanks Toffeeapple - that colour scheme always makes them impressive insects

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  16. Hi John, I wonder when the last date for wasp-spotting is?

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