Stump Stabber

Jul 18, 2014

Dolichomitus imperator Oviposition (CC BY-SA 2.5)
Credit Richard Bartz

"Giant Ichneumon Wasp," by Christine Wren.

"On a hot summer day a strange new insect appeared in my backyard, poking around on a Douglas-fir stump. She resembled a wasp, a big one, but not the ordinary kind that hovers over picnic baskets. She was tantalizingly exotic...her behavior even more so. For half an hour I sat and watched. Methodically, she probed the stump's top and sides with her antennae. The she stopped to perform an amazing feat. Looking like a gymnast, she raised her body up into a headstand, and then gracefully formed a backwards arch with her abdomen and the long trailing whip, which promptly anchored itself to the wood like a flagpole. She balanced motionless in that position, and then moved on to repeat the elaborate maneuver in many new places."

(Broadcast: Fieldnotes, July 20th & 21st, 2014)