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The deal

December 28, 2019

On Xmas arvo Mac and I were sitting at the dam in Flowerdale – well Mac was laying in the dam and I was sitting on the slope watching. I noticed a wasp struggling on the surface of the water. Normally I would let nature take this course but I made a deal with the wasp that if I fished it out, it would sit still long enough for me to get a good photograph, something I find difficult to do with wasps. I don’t know whether it heard but it took a considerable amount of time de-watering itself before flying off, enough time for me to get a photo or two. It was a Common Paper Wasp (Polistes humilis), pictured left and below, which has been described in a previous blog.

Ants, bees and wasps are of the order Hymenoptera (membrane-winged insects), and in the sub-order Apocrita, derived from the Greek word apokritos meaning separated. This refers to the ‘narrow waist’ these insects have. In evolutionary terms the narrow waist is beneficial as it allows flexibility when using an ovipositor when laying eggs or a sting when defending itself. The picture above clearly shows just how narrow the waist is compared to the rest of the insect. The same characteristic can be found, though sometimes not as obviously, in ants and bees.

Presuming that the wasp did not get eaten immediately after it flew away I think we both did OK out of the deal.

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