Currently viewing the tag: "food chain"
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Subject: What’s that wasp?
Location: Seattle. Can be more specific if need be.
April 25, 2015 2:37 pm
Picture taken in Seattle at a park. Wasp is apparently eating the other bug. The profile and colors don’t match I’ve found, but it does resemble an ichneumon somewhat. Your idea as to species?
Signature: Roger

Black and Yellow Mud Dauber with Prey

Black and Yellow Mud Dauber with Prey

Dear Roger,
This is a Black and Yellow Mud Dauber,
Sceliphron caementarium, and you can verify our identification on BugGuide where it states:  “Adults nectar at flowers; mud nests are built in all kinds of sheltered locations, incl. man-made structures, rock ledges, etc. Adults collect mud for nests at puddle/pool edges.  Food nests are provisioned with spiders.”  Your individual is not feeding, but rather capturing prey with which to provision its nest, so they prey is likely a Spider.

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Subject: Caterpillars in Costa Rica
Location: Monteverde, Costa Rica
April 24, 2015 10:28 am
What are these caterpillars, what are they going to turn into, why do they clump like this, and why does one (lower right) appear to have white things on it?
Signature: Ashley from the Monteverde Institute

Nymphalidae Caterpillars

Moth Caterpillars

Dear Ashley,
We believe these Caterpillars are in the Brush Footed Butterfly family Nymphalidae, and the caterpillar in question appears to have been parasitized by a Chalcid or Braconid Wasp.  We will contact Keith Wolfe to see if he can identify the caterpillars more specifically.

Nymphalidae Caterpillar parasitized by Wasp

Moth Caterpillar parasitized by Wasp

Keith Wolfe provides a correction
Hi Daniel,
Nope, these are immature moths, the scoli (spines) being much too long for any Neotropical nymphalid.
Best wishes,
Keith

After Keith Wolfe’s correction, we are now speculating that they are relatives of Buck Moths in the subfamily Hemileucinae and we will see if Bill Oehlke can provide any information.

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Subject: huntsman
Location: Perth,Western Australia
April 16, 2015 6:30 am
I just sent you a msg re-paraylised huntsman on my windowsill and didnt have the link to send a photo so here they are.
What can i do with it?

Subject: Huntsman Spider
April 16, 2015 6:02 am
I live in western Australia. Huntsman spiders are common but never really seen in my area, however with the change in weather in the last week i’ve seen 2 being dragged by wasps. One made it back to its nest while the other couldn’t quite get it up the wall into the tiny hole. Now i have a paraylised huntsman sitting on my windowsill and have no idea what to do with it. Can you help?
Signature: zoe

Spider Wasp and Huntsman Spider

Spider Wasp and Huntsman Spider

Dear Zoe,
Female Spider Wasps in the family Pompilidae sting and paralyze Spiders to feed their young, laying an egg on the paralyzed spider which provides living and fresh (not dead and dried out)
food for the developing larva that eats its still living meal.  Your letter did not indicate why the Spider Wasps left behind the spiders, but we would urge you to not interfere in the future if that is what happened.  It takes tremendous effort for a female Spider Wasp to provide for her brood.  If enough venom was injected into the spider, it will most likely not recover.  We have numerous postings from Australia of Spider Wasps and Huntsman Spider prey.

Hi Daniel, thank you for your reply. My apologies, I had sent 2 different questions the second just contained photo’s. I can promise I didn’t interfere with anything. I seem to have nesting’s of wasps under the house and also in the roof.  The wasp simply gave up trying to pull the huntsman up the wall. It went up and down 3 times, nearly getting there on the 3rd attempt but seemed to give up and left it on the windowsill. I know its pretty much a lost battle for the huntsman and I have left it alone incase the wasp came back but it has not. So I guess my question is what to do with the paralysed but still living spider on my window? What do you suggest?

We would let nature take its course because we are guessing it is on the outside.

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Subject: Curious red forest ants with prey
Location: Cherokee County, NC
April 4, 2015 10:51 am
Photo was taken on 1st April 2015
Here are some odd red ants that I’ve never been able to identify. They seem to be about a uniform ~6-7mm in body length. I’ve only found these in rather specific environments; mixed deciduous forest in Western NC/ North GA with plenty of moist rotted logs and tree stumps. Tree stumps in particular with abandoned insect and carpenter ant tunnels seem to be their favorite; they take up residence in the old tunnels and clean them out to their liking. Colonies I’ve seen seem small with maybe a few hundred individuals at most, though to my recollection I’ve never seen a queen amongst the ones I’ve stumbled upon.
They seem to be primarily carnivorous; when I do find them there’s usually several small groups hauling various forest floor insects like crickets and beetle larvae into their tunnels. The ones in the photo here had what might be a newly-molted cricket nymph.
One distinct aspect is that their movement is rather different from other ants I’ve encountered; they seem to more more slowly/methodically, like the way an assassin bug moves. Even when disturbed they’re more slow to scurry about.
Finally, I couldn’t take a photo that included it but there’s a slight but rather distinct berry-red adularescence/schiller effect to the back of their abdomens when they’re in the light. For some reason my camera failed to capture it.
Signature: Jacob H

Unidentified Red Forest Ants

Unidentified Red Forest Ants

Dear Jacob,
We are posting your ant image and labeling it unidentified.  We are also featuring the posting.  We hope to be able to provide you with an identification soon.

Unidentified Red Forest Ant

Unidentified Red Forest Ant

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Subject: What is this Western Bluebird eating?
Location: 40º18’14,10″N, 121º52’22.43″W
December 29, 2014 1:16 pm
Dear Bugpersons,
I photographed a Western Bluebird as it foraged with conspecifics in a huge oak woodland in Northern California at 783 meters elevation. It carried a larvalike thing onto the road surface and proceeded to whack it to death! The attached photo shows the unfortunate prey object pre-whacking. What bug is that?
Many thanks.
Signature: Sylvia

Western Bluebird eats Cutworm

Western Bluebird eats Cutworm

Hi Sylvia,
Thanks for submitting your excellent Food Chain image.  Our good friend lepidopterist always says that insects, including the caterpillars of butterflies and moths, exist to feed birds.  This caterpillar appears to be a Cutworm in the subfamily which you can find represented on BugGuide, possibly a Winter Cutworm.

Subject: Western Bluebird
December 30, 2014 12:34 am
Thank you for your speedy reply! Winter Cutworm looks correct. Here’s an edited photo that shows a little more detail of the caterpillar. Rather disheartening to learn that this introduced species is so widespread, but I doubt that the Bluebirds mind.
Signature: Sylvia

Western Bluebird eats Cutworm

Western Bluebird eats Cutworm

Thanks for the update Sylvia.  The nice thing about some introduced species is that they do provide food for native species.

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Subject: Wasp and it’s eight legged prey
Location: Mooroolbark, Victoria, Australia
December 18, 2014 1:11 am
Hi,
I saw this wasp yesterday (December 18) and as you can see it has caught a spider, and quite a large one. The wasp itself was about an inch long maybe (as you can see in the pics it’s about half the height of a standard house brick).
I didn’t see the initial attack, but was walking by and saw it dragging the spider by its face (do spiders even have “faces”? haha) through the leaf litter by the side of the house. I watched it drag the spider at least 5 meters to the front of the house where it then hauled it up the wall with apparent ease (the first picture) and pulled it into the gap in the bricks as demonstrated in the last picture.
I found the whole thing quite amazing. It was like watching a documentary :)
I would love to know what kind of wasp this is. Pity I couldn’t get better pictures, but hopefully they’re enough to identify this awesome wasp.
I was also wondering a few things about the spider. If that spider was on my bedroom wall, I would call it a “Huntsman” but I don’t know it’s actual name. Was the spider going to end up as the wasps meal, or was the spider going to have eggs laid in it, so they can hatch and consume the spider alive? Is that even something wasps do or am I just being creative? Haha
Thanks
I’m wondering if the spider is for food, or whether it’s for the wasp to deposit eggs into.
Signature: Matt P

Spider Wasp preys upon Huntsman Spider

Spider Wasp preys upon Huntsman Spider

Dear Matt,
We have no shortage of Australian Spider Wasps with their Huntsman Spider (yes your ID on the spider is correct) prey on our site, most likely because they are a common Australian summer sighting that corresponds to the dearth of interesting North American sightings of our northern winter.  You are also correct that the female Spider Wasp will lay an egg on the Huntsman Spider which will provide a fresh meal for the developing Spider Wasp larva as it feeds on the still living but paralyzed Huntsman Spider.  We believe the Spider Wasp is
Cryptocheilus bicolor.  Spider Wasps will frequently climb a wall or fence dragging the Huntsman Spider so they can glide with the prey as it would be too difficult to take off from the ground with such a heavy load.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination