Insect report from Wenas Campout

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I spent memorial weekend at the 39th annual Wenas Creek Campout, a gathering
of naturalists sponsored by Audubon, just North of Naches. On the Black
canyon hike we came to a wonderful wet meadow area that was full of
butterflies, checker spots, blues, and a Double-tailed Swallowtail. My
attention was directed to my feet when I noticed an Anoplius wasp having
what I thought was a death struggle with a larger caterpillar. The struggle
however was with a large red ant who also wanted to claim the prize and who
had hold of the opposite end. They did a tug of war, the much smaller ant
holding its ground against the wasp. Finally the wasp sort of lifted the end
of the caterpillar in such a way that the ant was not able to touch the
ground, and thus losing its leverage. The ant crawled up along the body of
the caterpillar towards the wasp, who promptly put down the meal and
prepared for attack by turning around sideways. The ant had second thoughts
(If it ever actually had any) about messing with the wasp, returned to the
opposite side of the caterpillars and the two began playing tug of war
again. I turned my attentions to other things like birds for a few minutes,
and when I returned the wasp was again carrying the caterpillar and ant
together through the grass and dirt, not without some difficulty. (This spp
typically goes after ground spiders) I took a couple of pictures, looked
away for a few more minutes and as I left the two combatants were once again
doing tug of war. I wonder who eventually won?

The Eleodes were commonly seen on dusty roads, and the well and not so well
aged horse manure apparently attracted some scarab beetles, I think of the
genus Aphodius. In the Hazel Wolf Bird Sanctuary Campground the carpenter
ants were annoyingly thick, dropping into your face, your soup, and
unforgivably, my beer.

Ernie Bay (the Insect walk leader of the weekend) set up a black light and
we got several attractive moths including a tiger moth, and some of the
cross moths, the ones that look like miniature model airplanes with tiny
narrow wings. Also several caddisfly adults and a whole bunch of midges.

Rob Sandelin
South Snohomish County at the headwaters of Ricci Creek
Sky Valley Environments  <http://www.nonprofitpages.com/nica/SVE.htm>
Field skills training for student naturalists
Floriferous@msn.com


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