• Silver patches are supposed to be shiny hairs (setae). I love their metallic look.

Thread-waisted wasp with prey

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Female Thread-waisted Wasp, Eremnophila aureonotata, preparing to bury its larval food, a Prominent Moth, family Notodontidae, what looks to be a a Variable Oakleaf Caterpillar Moth--Lochmaeus manteo. I noticed this wasp struggling with its prey in my back yard. I grabbed my camera and managed to get a sequence as it dragged the prey to a burrow it had dug, buried it, emerged, and covered it. A parasitic Satellite Fly also hovered nearby--see adjacent photos and the photo I posted to BugGuide. At some point I will put together a video of the still frames and post it.
Although these wasps are common in my area, this is only the second time I have observed the capture of prey--I got a similar sequence on film eight years ago.


Anita363, maryloly55, teejaybee, and 20 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 4 more comments

  1. cotinis 82 months ago | reply

    Thanks for your comments folks--I now updated the caption, which I had not completed previously.
    Mario--yes, this is the species I was talking about in my earlier comments. The similarity is striking, given the geographic distance. I am sure it is the same genus (Eremnophila), and it may even be the same species.

  2. teejaybee 82 months ago | reply

    Wow great catch!

  3. violetflm 82 months ago | reply

    wow, what an amazing moment! great catch

  4. =Dieg0 82 months ago | reply

    Beautiful catch!

  5. zxgirl 82 months ago | reply

    Excellent capture! I can see the force exerted on the caterpillar's soft body by the wasp's mandibles. Thanks for sharing!

  6. jexux 82 months ago | reply

    fantastico macro,impresionante captura,muy bueno perfecto.

  7. nature55 82 months ago | reply

    Holy cow, this is sooooo neat!

  8. Greg Adams Photography 82 months ago | reply

    This is Amazing!!

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Spectacular Insects - invited images only, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  9. Greg Adams Photography 82 months ago | reply

    Please also put it here:
    You are invited to post this image to "Spectacular Nature, invite only
    Please tag with SpecNature

  10. ALFREDO CARDONA 82 months ago | reply

    Hola, soy el administrador de un grupo llamado MACRO SPECTACULAR (Only Bugs & Spiders) POST 2 LOGO POOL PLEASE y nos encantaría agregar esto al grupo.

  11. ` ®© ROBERTO CARBONI 82 months ago | reply

    Beautiful, nice work

  12. Techuser 81 months ago | reply

    Very nice! liked how the shadow has sharp edges but its not harsh

  13. Thierrry 81 months ago | reply

    Great observation, well captured!

  14. cotinis 79 months ago | reply

    I just received notice that this image is a finalist in the 2008 Wildlife in North Carolina Photo Competition. (Not a winner yet--it made the first cut from among over 6,000 entries.) I submitted about a dozen photos this year and had two finalists:

    This is a very competitive contest, and I am very pleased to have a photo make the first cut.

  15. zxgirl 79 months ago | reply

    Congratulations - even that much is telling that your work is wonderful!!

  16. Hamilton Images 79 months ago | reply

    Yeah, congrats Patrick.


  17. arnold26 71 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Micro Prey, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  18. David Panevin 71 months ago | reply

    Great shot. It certainly has a large enough capture.

  19. DrPhotoMoto 58 months ago | reply

    Very nice shot. By the way I referenced your shot in a similar one I took. I think yours is better because it shows the wasp grasping the prey with her mandibles: www.flickr.com/photos/drphotomoto/4754645811/

  20. Shawn Caza 27 months ago | reply

    Some powerful jaws. I used this photo in a graphic illustrating the differences between bees and wasps.

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