Zenfolio | Bruce Fellman | Astilbe mystery

Astilbe mystery

June 21, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

I love a good mystery, particularly one that involves insect identification. Usually, however, I manage to solve the mystery in advance of writing about it and showing the image that inspired the search. Alas, not this time. Let me set the scene: we are blessed with an abundance of Astilbes, and, at present, they are blooming in abundance, their white to pink columns of tiny, packed together flowers luring in an equal abundance of potential pollinators and predators attracted to the crowd. Most of the visitors are small, even tiny, and this curious wasp, its thread-waisted abdomen held in a permanent curve, is no more than half-an-inch long. I don't know her identity, but, if I had to guess, she's probably a member of the Ichneumon clan, a large group of parasitic wasps that don't sting but, rather, use that formidable "stinger," which is actually an ovipositor, for depositing eggs into prey that then serve as a food source for developing larvae. I'll keep looking for this small wonder's scientific name. I try to avoid unsolved mysteries.


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