Un­der at­tack

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Feedback Your 1 2 3 -

The ex­cel­lent fea­ture on the bee­wolf (Sniff­ing out the Bee­wolf, Novem­ber 2017), and the au­thor’s ob­ser­va­tion that the fe­male wasp ex­tracts re­cently im­bibed nec­tar from the cap­tured hon­ey­bees, re­minded me of some­thing last sum­mer.

I saw a field dig­ger wasp stalk­ing some green­bot­tles along var­i­ous ivy-rich hedges. Fol­low­ing the strug­gle there was of­ten a lull, dur­ing which the wasp would re-jig its grip and take the fly’s la­bel­lum in its jaws ( above).

Could the wasp be draw­ing nec­tar from the fly? Steve Smailes, via email

En­to­mol­o­gist Richard Jones replies: I doubt the wasp is ex­tract­ing part­di­gested nour­ish­ment through the fly’s tongue, as green­bot­tles rarely visit flow­ers and take only a lit­tle nec­tar when they do. How­ever, it may be ‘test­ing’ its prey as to sub­dued­ness and tasti­ness.

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