Hello my friends
How are you at the beginning of this new month? Can you believe it is already November? Where did that year go?
Today, I simply like to share some impressions of my neighbourhood while I am recovering from surgery (phew, so happy all went well and it now lies behind me!).
I visit this place regularly and love to go there with my bike, for a stroll on my own, with my beloved hubby, and with friends. Almost every time I am here – including today’s story -, something special happens. Once when I was sitting by the little stream, for example, a dragonfly would come and sit on my bare foot to enjoy the last sunrays of the day, fly off from time to time and come back again. Mostly, she sat on my foot when she could have chosen to sit anywhere. I do have pictures of the encounter but thought you may not be that interested in seeing my foot 😜.
By being there often, I witness the changing light and seasons and observe the different weather patterns, all of which fascinate me to the core. Sometimes, though, I am so captivated that I leave too late as you can see in the thunderstorm pics.
What I also love about this area is the open space. Here are the images I took home on a beautiful autumn evening last week. A surprise of a very special moment that day waits below…
So, as I wanted to take a seat on a tree stump to face towards the sun and just be, I first checked it for bird droppings. I don‘t normally care too much about this, but I was wearing a light colour on my trousers and very obviously it was so eminent I did it, for look what I discovered:
Whoa, my biologist heart beat went faster and I squeaked of excitement 😄. May I introduce to you one of the biggest parasitic wasps. They are quite easily recognised by their very long antennae. This beauty of an animal is busy laying eggs and you see how her so called ovipositor – the part of her body she lays the eggs with – is drilled into the wood. The sunlit part still striking upwards is the ovipositor‘s protection cover.
Imagine such a delicate structure being drilled into hard wood. Nature amazes me time and time again.
Why parasitic wasp? These ichneumons (Schlupfwespen in German), as this family of insects is called, lay their eggs onto or into young stages (larvae) of other insects. The particular species above – the giant ichneumon Rhyssa persuasoria (Holzschlupfwespe) – parasitises horntail wasps (Holzwespen), which themselves live in the wood of trees as larvae.
I watched this female, let‘s call her Rhyssa 😍, for about half an hour. She slowly circled around her ovipositor, removed it after a while, cleaned it, searched the wood with her antennae to find another larva, drilled again, and moved and danced all the way like a very talented ballet dancer. I could not believe my luck and was over the moon with joy.
After taking some pictures in the beginning I was so struck by the show I was witnessing that it took some time to finally dawn on me that I could actually take a video. My iPhone was low on battery, of course, and I still did not have an extra battery pack. Arrgh! (I do have one now!)
Still, I pushed the record button. My phone automatically switched off after three and a half minutes, so the end is a bit abrupt. But the following is what I got and I am just so thankful it was saved and I am able to share this wonder in motion pictures with you now.
It blew my mind. I hope it brings a „wow“ to your face 🤩.