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Insect artistry

November 19, 2014

Potter wasp nestWe received this photo of a beautifully formed pot from Bec, follower of this blog as well as being our local Blackberry Action Group project officer.

This small work of art is actually made by a potter wasp, one of a number of species of wasps in the subfamily Eumeninae. Many potter wasps stock their nest with caterpillars for their larvae to eat. The wasp grasps its caterpillar prey with its sharp forceps-like mandibles, immobilises it with its sting and flies/drags it to the nest. An egg is laid, then the nest is sealed. When hatched, the larva eats the caterpillar(s) live before pupating and emerging from the nest as a nectar-feeding adult wasp.

Potter wasp - photo:

Potter wasp – photo:

Potter wasps are solitary, not social like some wasps, such as the European Wasp. They can sting but are not normally aggressive. The constructor of Bec’s nest would be similar to the wasp pictured at right.

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