Thread-waisted Wasp


We have about 18 species of the genus Ammophila in South Africa, and finding a female Thread-waisted Wasp from this genus on the hunt can be an absolutely engrossing experience. Before setting out, she digs a short tunnel in sandy soil, ending in a wider nest chamber. She then searches for caterpillars and other soft-bodied invertebrates, which once found are paralysed with a series of stings and then, depending on the size of the prize, is carried in flight or dragged along the ground back to the nest. One or more incapacitated victims are provided per nest, the female wasp laying a single egg on the first prey item stored in the nest. Once the larder has been sufficiently stocked to provide adequately in the needs of the larval wasp, the female closes it up with pebbles and grains of sand, taking great care to expertly hide the tunnel from view. She then starts the process all over again at a suitable nesting site elsewhere.

Thread-waisted Wasp

The two galleries below were taken at Marakele National Park and Tembe Elephant Park respectively, and show the fascinating process of a female wasp provisioning her offspring with a food store.

The Tembe sequence:

Unlike the larvae, adult Thread-waisted Wasps feed on nectar. They measure 2-3cm in length.



17 thoughts on “Thread-waisted Wasp

  1. petrujviljoen

    So iets gesien hier. As ‘n wasp ‘n perdeby is in elk geval. Die’t ‘n klein nessie gemaak met modder op die voorste trap. Sit een dag op die trappie en hier kom dit aangevlieg met ‘n wurm, druk dit in die gaatjie bo wat oopgelos was vir die doel. Volgende dag is die gaatjie toegemaak met ‘n dekseltjie modder. Langs die kant van die moddernessie is drie gaatjies, al klaar toegemaak met modder waar die kleintjies kan uitkom. Dink ek wil my kamera om my nek begin hang vir sulke oomblikke.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. photobyjohnbo

    When I think of Africa, I think of herds of elephants, giraffes, gazelles sweeping across the plains. I always enjoy that you take the time to show off God’s smaller creatures, birds, and even this relatively tiny wasp. You tell the true story of the Dark Continent.

    Liked by 1 person


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