Random Insect: Thread-waisted wasp catching some ZZZs

Thread-waisted wasp (family Sphecidae) in a sleeping posture. Photographed 09/18/2010 near Blissfield Michigan.

I was out walking just before dusk yesterday and I came across a thread-waisted wasp (family Sphecidae, possibly Ammophila pictipennis).  It was in a curious posture.  Its jaws were fixed firmly on the base of a common ragweed flower (Ambrosia artemisiifolia, Asteraceae).  Its abdomen was held out at an odd angle, and it didn’t move except to twitch its antennae.  At first I thought it was feeding, but ragweed is wind-pollinated and probably a poor source of nectar.

After reading a bit, I learned this wasp was getting ready to sleep.  They latch on to plants, adopt this unusual pose, and remain immobile for the night.  I don’t think it looks very comfortable.  Apparently a busy day of feeding on flower nectar, provisioning nests with moth larvae, mating, and laying eggs can really wear you out.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Entomology, Random Insect and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Random Insect: Thread-waisted wasp catching some ZZZs

  1. Jim Martin says:

    nice find! Was this near Palmyra?

    Like

  2. Jeremy Sell says:

    Northeast of Blissfield on the edge of a soybean field and mesic forest along the river.

    Like

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