Friday, November 13, 2015

A toilet bowl tale


Well, this story begins in a....uh.....bathroom. Ours. I had just made use of the facility when I glanced into the toilet bowl and spotted....what is that? Oh, my, it was ALIVE! An earwing? Not a second to waste so I dipped my fingers in the water and saved the interesting-looking, winged insect that you see above.

"Sorry!" I told the bedraggled creature. "I didn't know you were there. Or else I'd have gotten you out FIRST."

I turned on the sink faucet and drizzled water over it. Poor thing. I won't go into detail, but you can surmise why I was bathing it. 

A few minutes later, the insect preened itself for several long moments. I took photos while it did so.


Then it stayed still for more photos. Yes, a few times I wondered if it might sting or bite me. But it didn't. I've uploaded pictures and asked the experts at Bugguide.net for help in identifying my friend, which has been tentatively placed in the ants, bees, wasps and sawflies order (Hymenoptera). Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, after our photo session, I released the insect outside, and off it went....to live another day. Hopefully.
UPDATE November 29, 2015–John S. Ascher with Bugguide.net identified my watery friend as a cockroach wasp (Ampulex ferruginea). There are only six photos on Bugguide.net of this particular species, and half are now mine. Cool!

"Adults capture cockroach nymphs to feed the larvae...," states the Ampulicidae (cockroach wasp family) page. Another page states that the "female wasp disables the prey's escape reflexes, takes hold of one of the roach's antennae and leads it like a dog on a leash into her burrow." For more info, check out "How to make a zombie cockroach." So interesting!

3 comments:

Ragna said...

Interesting! I know it hasn't been positively identified, but having seen similar 'ants' just for fun I looked up Pseudomyrmex and found this:

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/ants/elongate_twig_ant.htm

A little off topic, but did you see this pretty Texas brown tarantula on the Texas Garden Web?

http://forums.gardenweb.com/discussions/3503593/texas-brownie?n=5

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

I did just now, thanks to your heads up! :-)

Joy Boy said...

TMI, Sheryl. You goof.

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