Wasps and the Heat of Battle



WASPS are another extraordinarily diverse assemblage of insects. They may be parasitic or social, microscopic or surprisingly large. There are “fairy-flies” (mymarids) 0.2 mm in length and the Trichogramma (Chalcidae), which are small enough for 70 to grow to maturity within a single butterfly egg. At the other end of the size range is the pompilid spider wasp (Pepsis sp.), with a 15 cm wingspread and an 8 cm body that can subdue large tarantulas. There are tens of thousands of graceful, colorful, and agile ichneumon wasps, all of them solitary parasites of other insects. Other kinds of wasps, such as the vespids, have highly evolved social systems.


Yellow Jacket Solitary Wasp Bumblebee Queen Thermoregulatory Ability Predatory Wasp 
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© Bernd Heinrich 1993

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