Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Not so wee, nor wingéd.

Nor even an ant.

Despite the common name of Velvet Ant, it's actually a female wasp that for some lost-to-time, left-instead-of-right evolutionary turn is wingless. (Well, it obviously works; sometimes that's the only reason biology needs.) [ED. NOTE: She's relatively large as wasps go--about 3/4 of an inch long.]

It just so happens that I had found a male--who has wings (all the better to chase the girls?)--the day I found the tuliptree scale:

Gorgeous creatures… Too bad neither was easy to photograph. The guy was in deep shade (and I wasn't shooting with the flash, obviously) and the gal was trucking across the driveway so quickly that I had to waylay her (a plastic beverage cup was luckily close at hand) in order to go for a camera (you'd think I'd have learned by now that I should have a camera in hand each and every time I step out of my door, even if I'm just getting something out of the truck) and attempt (unsuccessfully) to slow her down enough to hope for a halfway decent photo.