Friday, August 04, 2017
Sand Wasp Grows Entirely On True Bugs
Tonight, after I cropped the photos to more closely see the insect I had "captured", I tabbed over to BugGuide.net and started looking around. After a while, I thought I had probably figured out the identification...but the eye color was wrong and the markings on the thorax were not quite right either. So, I posted the photos and asked for help.
BugGuide for the win!
So why do I try so hard to identify "my" insects to the correct species? This wasp is a good example. By learning the identity of this wasp, peacefully feeding at a flower, I learned that I host a species of solitary wasp that raises its young completely on true bugs, on insects like stink bugs and assassin bugs and maybe even milkweed bugs.
To top it all off, as an adult, this wasp acts as a pollinator on flowers in my garden. Before I started learning about the specific identities of the insects in my garden, I had no idea that wasps were such extraordinary predators or that adult wasps generally just ate pollen and nectar. Based on a childhood experience, I was actually quite scared of them. Now wasps fascinate me, and the more I learn, the more fascinated I become.
I am continually stunned by the complex interactions occurring all around me - interactions that I simply don't see or even know to look for. The natural world is truly a marvelous, intricate web of life whose structure we would be wise to cherish, rather than destroy.