Monday, May 8, 2017

Intrigue and suspense

Yesterday evening, we were strolling in the back yard when I happened to spot a reddish wasp, pacing up and down on the brick wall of our house. "Hmmm, she must be hunting for a spider," I commented offhandedly.
A few seconds later, I glanced down and saw a poor wolf spider, curled up in a heap on the ventilation brick. "Oh, she's already stung one!" I told James. "That spider's paralyzed now. She'll drag it off soon to her nest, then lay eggs on it. The spider will be a live meal when the larva hatch."
We continued to watch both the wasp and spider. Was the wasp looking for the spider?

No, she apparently remembered where she'd left her spider. While we kept watching, the wasp searched and searched along the brick walls. Maybe she was looking for her nest? Sure enough, I spotted a round hole in the brick mortar about the same time she found it. OK, now she knew about where her nest was.

The wasp returned to the spider and began to drag it away.....

...and away and away....

Ah, the things we do for our children. Poor wasp mom. At one point, she had to drop off the spider in a clump of green salvia (photo below) and go get her directions straight again to the nest. Remember, she's doing all her maneuvering BACKWARD, while carrying a LOAD, too.

James ran for his camera so he could take a video. She'd get real close to the nest hole, then miss it. After several LONG minutes, we started encouraging the wasp. "Go left! Go more left!" I cheered. "I mean, go to right! It's her right, James. Awwwww, she missed the hole AGAIN."

Finally, YES! Success! Bravo! She did it! The wasp mom found her target! Mission accomplished! Poor spider, but that's nature.

Epilogue: Our strong, determined wasp mom is likely a spider wasp called Tachypompilus ferrugineus. This webpage on wasps helped a lot in figuring out the identification. Then the experts at helped by nearly confirming the ID

After last night's episode in our Wildscape, James better understands why it's so easy for me to get caught up in the drama and want to hang around until the very end. 

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