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.

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?


  2. Jeremy Sell says:

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


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