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Photo Information
Copyright: Nitin Jawale (NitinJawale) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 17 W: 0 N: 119] (1494)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-04-23
Categories: Insects
Camera: Cannon EOS 550D, Canon EF 100 mm F2.8 Macro USM
Exposure: f/3.5, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-04-28 5:19
Viewed: 3325
Points: 8
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Sphex pensylvanicus is a species of digger wasp, commonly known as the great black wasp.[2] It lives across most of North America and grows to a size of 2035 mm (0.81.4 in). The larvae feed on living insects which the females paralyze and carry to the underground nest.

S. pensylvanicus is distributed across the Continental United States, except in the north-west, and also occurs in northern Mexico. The northernmost localities in which it has been reported are Durham, New Hampshire, Malden, Massachusetts and Amherst, Massachusetts, as well as locations in the states of New York, Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota.

Sphex pensylvanicus is a large, black wasp, significantly larger than its congener Sphex ichneumoneus (the great golden digger wasp). Males are smaller than females, at only 1928 mm (0.71.1 in) long, to females 2534 mm (1.01.3 in).[1] According to John Bartram, "The Sting of this Wasp is painful, but does not swell like others". As well as being larger than S. ichneumoneus, it is also darker, with smoky wings and an entirely black body, where S. ichneumoneus has yellow wings, red legs, and a partly red abdomen.

Ecology and life cycle
Adult females of S. pensylvanicus build an underground nest which they provision with various orthopteran insects, particularly of the genera Microcentrum, Amblycorypha and Scudderia. Prey are stung three times, once in the neck and twice in the thorax, and are paralyzed by the wasp's sting, although they can survive for weeks. The prey are then carried to the nest. While collecting their prey, the females are vulnerable to kleptoparasitism, in which birds, including the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) and the gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis), steal the prey that the wasp has collected.
The eggs of S. pensylvanicus are 56 mm (0.200.24 in) long and 1 mm (0.04 in) wide; they are glued to the underside of the prey insect between the first and second pairs of legs. Each of the several chambers in the nest houses a single larva, which consumes 26 katydids or grasshoppers. The larvae live for 10 days, reaching a final size of 3035 mm (1.21.4 in) long by 710 mm (0.280.39 in) wide.
S. pensylvanicus is an important pollinator of plants including the milkweeds Asclepias syriaca and A. incarnata. It has also been reported on Daucus carota, Eryngium yuccifolium and Melilotus albus. S. pensylvanicus is one of several species of Sphex to be parasitized by the strepsipteran Paraxenos westwoodi.

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Critiques [Translate]

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  • pegos Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 222 W: 0 N: 356] (1982)
  • [2012-04-28 5:52]

Great macro shot, Nitin!
Great sharpness and fine detail; wonderful lightness and splendid contrast with a blurred background. Very well done!

Hello Nitin,
very well taken macro with great sharpness and colour.
i am sure, but i think this is a 'Great Black Wasp - Sphex pensylvanica'

I agree with Samiran, Nitin. It is a wasp, but I can't point out the exact ID.
Well done with your new macro lens! The picture is very sharp and colourful. The Wasp occupying two flowers makes a lovely composition. I would have preferred the subject off centre with more space in front and less at the back.

hello Nitin
a beauty of a wasp with great details and beautiful colours
very nice composition
greeting lou

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