Saturday, May 30, 2009

Stranger than fiction... and in my backyard

Some insects have adaptations that seem stranger than fiction. A four inch ovipositor on a wasp? Nah, no one would believe it.

And yet here is an Ichneumon wasp recently seen in my back yard. It appears to be a Megarhyssa, and that whopping ovipositor certainly looks to be the death of something! Jim McCormac had a good post on these beasties as while back- click here for his take.

And if you thought this was just your average bumblebee- look again! Those oddly shaped wings, "bearded" face and insect nabbing claspers, a wolf in sheep's clothing, this one. And it may be my new favorite insect, now that I have read they are a predator of Japanese beetles!

These Laphria robber flies "are to other insects what falcons are to other birds," says Kenn Kaufman in the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America.

This guide is the greatest- if you don't have one, get it now. I had no idea how much I would use it, and now it is one of my favorites. Even a piker like me can find the basic information on these stranger than science-fiction bugs!

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