Author Gary Taylor ◦
Meanwhile, back in BeeTown, a little potter wasp hasn’t even finished building her house, let alone moved in and started storing baby food yet, and she’s already got a cuckoo wasp staking out her nest… Tough neighbourhood… But it’s hard not to like the gorgeous little cuckoo wasps with their incredible green and/or unbelievable blue colouring…
In a science journal I read many years ago on Chrysididae nesting habits (as the name “cuckoo” suggests they lay their eggs in other wasps nests, but unlike the bird they’re not raised by parents they’re trapped in a sealed compartment where no one can hear you scream… The cuckoo wasp egg hatches first and doesn’t just eat the host’s baby food but the baby as well…) …they were called “Glorious bastards” 😆
In the same journal it also suggested the many hundreds of deep little pits on it’s body (last pic) may be a defence thing… when caught in the act and attacked by the prospective host wasp the stinger would hit one of the many pits and stop rather than slide and go in somewhere more harmful, (a bit like the dimples on a sewing thimble..).
Yep, I can see the logic in that…. Buuuuuttt… What strikes me is Why aren’t they seen? The potter wasp can pick out a tiny green caterpillar in amongst a pile of green leaves but it doesn’t see the neon sign only centimetres from it’s nest…
Ok, I reckon there’s a heap of you reading this that have tried to capture the true shine of a cuckoo wasp only to find you can’t, unless it’s out of focus… Ah-ha, aye, there’s the rub… We and our cameras have a single lens, wasps and bees have compound eyes made up of hundreds of lenses all set at a slightly different angle… I reckon those pits are there to reflect light from hundreds of places in all directions. totally confusing the compound eye, sorta like trying to focus on a sparkling dew drop flashing colours at you in the first of the morning light as you roll out of your swag 🙂
Photographs, Midwest WA © Gary Taylor
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