Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fascinating Creatures of the King Range #2

This past week while out on patrol of the King Range Wilderness I witnessed quite the spectacle. What appeared to be a large fly/wasp was carrying a caterpillar underneath it as it scurried along the ground next to where I was eating lunch. It eventually reached a small hole in the ground where it dragged the caterpillar down into. The insect came back out empty handed then proceeded to shovel soil and debris into the hole to cover it up - much in the way a dog would cover it's bone.

I have no idea what this insect was so I contacted an entomologist named Eric who identified it as:

"cutworm hunter wasp in the genus Podalonia, family Sphecidae"

Eric also says of the cutworm hunter wasp:

"Cutworm wasps are named for the habit of the solitary females to hunt for soil-dwelling caterpillars (“cutworms”), paralyze them, and store them as food for the wasp’s offspring. The wasp digs her burrow after she procures the prey, which is the opposite behavior sequence of most wasps in the Sphecidae family. Only one caterpillar goes in the bottom of each burrow, and a single egg is laid upon it. The opening of the tunnel is then sealed and the wasp begins seeking another victim to repeat the process."

So There you have it! Very  fascinating.

For more about Eric and insects visit his blog at:

On another note, I was at the Punta Gorda Lighthouse this past week and noticed some new graffiti and trash left from visitors.

The graffiti says, "Evarything is still good! Don't want to bring back coffee cream sugar and TP."

Not only did this individual litter but they also graffitied a historic building. Please, pack out all of your trash and leave your graffiti out of the wilderness. YOU ARE NOT DOING A PUBLIC SERVICE BY LEAVING YOUR UNUSED ITEMS (aka, littering). 

A sad sight. And yes, they spelled everything wrong.