Posted by: scrubmuncher | September 23, 2012

Pin head

Last year in northern Spain we crashed our hire car, but after exercising our rudimentary knowledge of the Spanish language we eventually found a friendly mechanic to repair it. The next day we had to walk the 17 kms from Pesaguero to Potes along an old track through the mountains to pick up the repaired motor. It turned out this long and very hot yomp was well worth it as a splendid variety of beasts were espied, including this fine, little wasp.

This is another type of predatory, solitary wasp, but this species exhibits an incredible degree of sexual dimorphism. The individual in the photo below is a male and compared to the female (see here for the female of a related species) he’s a veritable pin-head. Apart from his odd-shaped head the male also has very distinctive, enlarged fore-legs, perhaps for signalling to the female and gripping hold of her when his courtship has been well-received. Active hunters, female Lestica wasps stock their nests with small moths. The dandy males, on the other hand, simply spend their time looking for females and sipping nectar.

A pin-headed male Lestica sp. Sexual dimorphism is very distinct in this genus of solitary, predatory wasps (Ross Piper).

Male Lestica spp. have a very odd-shaped head and large, flattened fore-limbs (Ross Piper).

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