Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sphex pensylvanicus and Pterophylla

This week we've noticed that the evening twittering of the Chimney Swifts (who roost about one block away) has been drowned out by the songs of Katydids. Astounding, really, because three years ago when we bought the house and I found one Katydid hanging around on a woodland sunflower leaf it was the very first time I'd ever seen one in Canada. I've seen them in Honduras, where they are called Esperanza, 'hope', appropriately so I think. This week the evening songs show that one has turned to many, and I can't say why, but certainly the context here (both in this lot and in the Province, given a pesticide ban) has changed. A lot.

This past week I've also noticed a remarkably busy, blue and large thread-waisted wasp. Are you ready? Not just a mud dauber, not just a ground nester, but a Katydid Killer wasp. Sphex pensylvanicus. This is one of the fifty-some insects we've seen this summer that we've never even seen before, concentrating its daily work around the new meadow, the wet-clay pots and the bee house.

And apparently capturing Katydids to provision its nests with.

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