Monday, June 21, 2010

Buried Alive

This (I'm pretty sure) is a spiny mason wasp Odynerus spinipes , which I found amongst the bloody crane'sbill flowers at Hawthorn Hive last weekend. Notice the distinctive antennae, curled into a spiral at the tip.

And this is its nest hole. The sandy soil that collects on rock ledges at the bottom of the cliffs at Hawthorn Hive offers a perfect, sheltered breeding site. Mason wasps dig a tunnel and lay their eggs in underground chambers, which they provision with paralysed weevil larvae - a living larder for their grubs to feed on when they hatch. The wasp build a cowl-shaped tube over the entrance to the nest hole, seen here in the early stages of construction, but once the nest hole is provisioned and sealed the cowl crumbles away. Its breeding methods may be gruesome, but before that nest hole is sealed it's often visited by another wasp with equally horrifying habits and a truely stunning colour scheme............. be continued.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating Phil. So much going on in nature, that I've no idea of. Thanks for highlighting all these amazing things.
    Curious now as to what's next.......