Saturday, August 16, 2008

Prospect Park Part II

The dragonflies were everywhere. OHS has taken a keen interest in their taxonomy. The black saddlebags and enormous green darner can be IDed on the wing. The eastern amberwing looks pretty easy too. And the blue dashers, above, were everywhere, but we really need a dedicated field guide for them.

As we approached the Drive by the zoo, something feel down onto the path in front of us. I thought it might be a cicada. It was.
And the cicada killer wasp that brought it down, stinging it with a paralyzing venom. The cicada had a few leg jerks left in it, but that was about it. The wasp then proceeded to drag the body off the path and into the woods. Old sweetgum seed pods didn't slow it down. We watched to see if it would take it into a nearby burrow or nest. Earlier, at the Maryland Monument, we saw numerous of these wasps alighting on little patches of dirt downslope from Sanford White's work. Were their nests there? OHS didn't want to get too close. These suckers are just over an inch long. I'm not a cicada, so they don't worry me, but I didn't see any moves underground. There's more on these lean mean cicada-killin' machines here.
Anyway, the wasp began to drag the cicada up a tree, where we lost it. Why up a tree when they nest in the ground? Did it want to use the height to glide back home? The cicada's gotta be some weight, even though this wasp moved pretty quickly with it. The cicada, btw, becomes food for the wasp larva.


queenoftheclick said...

I don't think I have ever seen this bug up close because I am always running and screaming when I see it.. It's not as scary in a picture.

amarilla said...

The pattern in the wings of the dragonfly in the first picture are making me wiggy.

Do you mind telling me what camera you have?

M.Thew said...

Canon PowerShot G9. Bug shots are a mix of the 24x built-in telephoto or the macro feature. It takes other lenses with a converting tube, but I haven't ventured there yet.