I’ve started this post off with a picture of Bessie, for two reasons really. Firstly, I know that the first picture that shows up on the reader page when you post is the largest and secondly because it relates to the little Woodle. I really don’t think the second picture would look great full size if you’re not a big bug fan!
She looks as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, right? Hmmm, I don’t know about butter but she managed to get hold of a couple of other things today and nice they most certainly were not. Are you ready for the yucky grub? I hope you’re not eating!
I’m 99% certain that it’s a rhinoceros beetle larvae, 100% certain that it’s a larvae from the scarab beetle family. It doesn’t look too large on the photo but it’s actually 8cm long and about 2cm wide and I caught Bess fumbling about with it on the lawn as I was hanging out the washing. I finally managed to get her away from it long enough to remove it from her vicinity. So okay then, panic averted and all is well. Until this evening that is when hubby caught her playing with something else on the lawn.
After a bit of searching, I discovered that it’s a Mammoth Wasp and I believe that the one in the pictures is a female. We had to use a glass to get the wasp off the ground and to protect it from Bessie. We didn’t want to harm it any more than necessary and after a couple of quick photos we released it and it eventually flew off, unharmed. They’re pretty intimating that’s for sure, the female can grown up to 4.5cm. I also discovered something very interesting about Mrs M. Wasp’s egg laying habits, the rhinoceros larvae that Bessie discovered this morning is used as a host for the Mammoth Wasp egg. The larvae is paralysed by the wasps sting as she lays the egg on the outer skin of the larvae and then when it hatches the wasp larvae feeds on it’s host. It them remains near to it’s meal as it forms it’s cocoon, reappearing the following spring as a Mammoth Wasp. Lovely stuff, eh?
So today, little Bessie frightened the life out of me with her antics but also unwittingly engaged me in a bit of a nature lesson. We also now know where she retrieved the grub, just at the decaying tree stump in the corner where it seems they like to live. If I wasn’t so squeamish I think I could learn to enjoy this bit of nature, it’s interesting!