Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A buggy post

The other day, I was putting the girls into the car. I could hear the yearly "dog-day" cicadas buzzing here and there, but suddenly I heard one specific one give an extra loud BUZZ.

A large tussle was going on in the driveway, so I grabbed the girls back out of the car to investigate:

A wasp belonging to nightmares was wrestling a cicada:
Cicada killer
Eastern Cicada Killer Wasp
Jesus, Mary and Joseph. This bug was at least 2 1/2 inches long. (In my nightmares, it's 7 feet long and has PMS)
Look at your pinkie finger. It was like that long.

The girls and I watched with fascinated horror as this thing stung the cicada, and I swallowed hard as I saw that great, fat abdomen pulse over and over.

(Hang on. I got the oogies...)

Okay. Better.

I read that the females paralyze their food, carry it off to their nest, lay an egg on the helpless victim and then closes up the nest cell. The egg hatches in a few days and has a ready-made meal waiting for them.

(ooooooo...I need to do a full body-shiver)

But I didn't know that as I watched the wasp tackle this cicada. Our approach made the wasp take off, and we peered down sadly at the cicada as it twitched.

paralyzed cicada
I thought it was in its death throes, but instead it was just slowly losing its ability to move.

On a prettier note, here's a yet-unidentified damselfly:
pretty damselfly
My goodness, I love dragonflies and damselflies. If hummingbirds are the "flying jewels" of the bird world, what can we call these beauties?
A mixture of engineering, art and magic?

Oh, heck. I have to put a bird pic in here:

I can has a peanut


Lynne said...

my bug's cuter than yours...neener.

LauraHinNJ said...

We had lots of those cicada killer wasps the summer we re-did our driveway - they seemed to really like all the open dirt to dig their nests.

They're cool bugs, but very very big!

Dave said...

That post bugs me. :) Keep them wasp down there.

KatDoc said...

Susan, I'm so PROUD of you! A cicada post! I have faith that by 2021, you will overcome your oogies, and I will not have to throw cicadas on you.


KatDoc said...

This must be the time of the year for this behavior to occur. Here's a video from another Ohio nature blogger:


kristin said...

Sometimes "mother nature" has what we consider to be "harsh" ways...but, in reality, there is that remarkable "balance" in nature, and a valuable lesson for us to learn as we are witness to it (if we even take the TIME to notice when the opportunities present themselves). I remember when I was little, watching spiders wrap their "victims" in their webs, in preparation for their next meal. I used to try to "release" the little creature, but it was always too late... now I understand (I think), that is all part of "the circle of life" (and death). And, there have been times when I have taken that bite of a drumstick, that I have made myself imagine that chicken, when it was still alive, and running around the chickencoop, enjoying life. Makes me more appreciative, and more mindful of what I am ingesting. :)

Thanx for sharing such a profound story.

The Swami said...

Remember, as you eat your chicken, if God had not meant for us to eat animals, He would not have made them out of meat.

Trixie said...

Ooogie! Oh, I know it is a natural process. It is just oogie! But, thanks for sharing that!

NatureWoman said...

This is very cool you got to see this in person. I've only read about it.

Mary said...

I'd have the oogies, too! Shivers!

Sweet titmouse...always too cute.

I hope the girls didn't have nightmares about the cicada. On second thought, I'm sure they didn't. Those nature girls...

donaldthebirder said...

The damselfly is a male American Rubyspot - Hetaerina americana,

RuthieJ said...

OMG, Susan, I think I would s*#t if I ever saw a wasp that huge! That was horrifying!