Little Glutton

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The other day I did a post featuring Polistes flavus, a large, yellow paper wasp.  I posted several images of this insect hard at work, chewing up plant fibers in order to augment its nest.

Here’s another paper wasp, almost certainly another Polistes species.  This wasp is much smaller than flavus, about 2/3 its size.  I found this individual the other day drinking nectar from wildflowers.

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I was intrigued at how engrossed she was in trying to lap up nectar from these flowers.  At times she immersed her entire head into the plant, greedily sucking down all of the nectar she could.

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When she was not doing that, she was flying from flower to flower, hanging on like a gymnast to a piece of equipment.  She didn’t stay long on any flower.  Just a few seconds sufficed for her to drink what the plant had to offer and then, she was on to the next flower in order to repeat the process.

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Of course, there are no free lunches in life, for wasps or for people.  Look closely at this little wasp and you’ll see that she’s covered with big white grains of pollen.  These flowers were giving up their nectar in return for the wasp’s serving as a mechanism for inseminating them and facilitating reproduction.   A win-win for the two of them, the wasp gets a meal and the plant gets to have offspring.

Photos taken with a Canon 5Diii, 180 f3.5L Macro Lens assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite, “M” setting, ISO 125, f13 @ 1/160.

2 responses to “Little Glutton”

  1. Liesl Kii says :

    We both thought the last picture of this little wasp with her face in the flower was exquisite!

  2. stevenkessel says :

    Well, it’s the closest I’ve ever come to saying that an insect is cute, Liesl.

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