A cool insect show

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I was laying in our new hammock and admiring a green caterpillar on the
underside of a grape leaf. It was munching away at the edge of the leaf,
going back to the starting place for each new "row" sort of like eating corn
almost. Then up flew a small parasitic wasp, and without any warning,
apparently stung the caterpillar, which violently starting bucking and
thrashing. The wasp hung on like a miniature cowboy on a bucking bronco.
After about 10 seconds the wasp flew off and after a few more thrashes, the
caterpillar settled down, then fell off the leaf onto a lower one, where it
lay motionless. I left it there, then thought I'd collect it and see if a
wasp larva came out, but when I returned it was gone.

Later, in a neighbors porch skylights (3 big glass enclosures) I counted 14
of the same or very similar wasps. So caterpillars beware. I collected one
but figuring out wasps like this is beyond my abilities.

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

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