Saturday, September 30, 2017

Wasp and Cicada Together

Earlier this month, a wasp and cicada caught our eyes. I might have whipped out my measuring stick and laid it near the duo, but decided to not disturb the wasp. As it turns out, several resources claim that the wasp is likely busy and not interested in a nearby human. From Cicada Mania's "10 Facts about Cicada Killer Wasps"
They are so focused on cicadas or other Cicada Killer Wasps, that they could care less about you. Sure, if you step on one, squeeze one in your hand, or otherwise harass the insect, it might sting you. Unlike other wasps, it will not go out of its way to harm you. Play it safe, do not go near these wasps, …
The last few months have been interesting for encountering cicadas and related items—exuviae (discarded exoskeleton), cicada wasp (humongous insect), and a molting cicada visitor on my doorstep—all separate events. This incident was different—both wasp and cicada in the same scene. In looking closer at the pictures and doing Google lookups, a real oddity was the size of the pictured wasp compared to the cicada. Resources such as Cicada Mania and BugGuide.Net describe the wasps as large.
If you compare the pictures with numerous online images or videos of wasps flying with their prey, my wasp is an absolute peewee. As I didn't spend much time with the duo, and didn't shoot a video, I'm inferring a story. The cicada's back faces the sky. For the wasp to use the cicada as food source for its larva, it must be able to insert the egg into the cicada. In the three pix, the wasp looks waaaay too small to be able to turn the cicada onto its back.

Walking in the same area the next day, did not see either insect. Dang! Missed opportunity.

While researching sites and videos to better identify the wasp and cicada. I noted a couple of coincidences:
Additional video resources show wasps with cicadas. Those wasps are maybe half the size of the cicadas (unlike peewee wasp), but strong enough to haul their prey. Some of the videos also include narration about the wasps' actions on the hapless cicadas.

Cicada articles:

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