Ancistrocerus
gazella ♀︎

Last update: 31 December 2019
OBSERVATION:
2019-VI-28

A remarkable scene on Musk-mallow (Malva moschata).

I was following this small Potter wasp (ANCISTROCERUS), a female Ancistrocerus gazella [1], which was flying around a patch with mallow plants.

Ancistrocerus gazella ♀︎

She was inspecting the flowers and at first I thought she wanted to drink nectar, but the flowers that she choose were still closed and she had no interest for open flowers. On on eof the closed flowers she became clearly very excited and started to walk quickly up and down on it. I didn’t get at first what she was doing as she was gnawing on the flower.

At the base of the flower she gnawed a hole and than walked to the top of the flower and bit the petals repeatedly. Then she walked down to the base and started biting above the hole, only to walk up to the flower top again and repeat. This ritual continued over a period of about 2 minutes. Then suddenly a caterpillar came dashing through the hole, which was immediately caught by the wasp.

So she was hunting and the method resembles squeezing toothpaste from an almost empty tube. After realizing what the purpose of the behaviour was I then noticed more specimen in the garden showing this. However it turns out to be a time consuming process that more often then not proves to fail. It is clearly hard work to find a caterpillar at all, let alone getting it out.

The action photos are not really great due to all the fast and frantic movements, next time maybe better to make a movie.

Ancistrocerus gazella ♀︎ about to capture caterpillar
Ancistrocerus gazella ♀︎, with captured caterpillar
Ancistrocerus gazella ♀︎ knawed holed

References

1 Determinaties muurwespen (Ancistrocerus) AHW

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