The mimicker meets the mimicked (and thus its maker).

July 17, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Just a wee one today.

Two days ago whilst looking at the flowers on our "back lawn" (more like a meadow really full of white clover, birds foot trefoil and self-heal), I found a median (or french) wasp, Dolichovespula media, attacking and killing a hornet hoverfly (Volucell zonaria).

This king of hoverflies, Volucella zonaria, is superb at mimicking hornets or I suppose, median wasps, which are themselves, sometimes confused with hornets by inquisitive humans. They need to be good at mimicking the wasps and hornets though; as female hornet hoverflies must lay their eggs in wasps' (and hornets' and bees') nests and have their larvae develop inside these nests as commensals.

This adult, wasp-mimicking hoverfly was meeting the wasp it was mimicking though - not in a good way - and so ended up meeting its maker too.

 

Incidentally - 

The median wasp (Dolichovespula media) is easily recognised as such (as opposed to being a common wasp (Vespula vulgaris) or a German wasp (Vespula germanica)) because of its long (that's what "dolicho" means, dontchano?) body, two of its four (dorsal) thoracic spots are brown (the other two are yellow) and it has brown and yellow "inverted 7" marks on the sides of its thorax.

The median wasp is also known as the "French wasp". Again, as opposed to the German wasp.

French wasps nest in trees very often, in suspended paper nests, whereas German wasps nest underground. In *cough*, bunkers.

French wasps are also (I'm not joking!) easier to chase away and less aggressive than German wasps.

I' think I'll leave you with that thought.

TBR.

 

 

 


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