This large wasp came flying around the corner like a helicopter and landed on the bank beside me. It was large and beautifully coloured, with toffee-brown legs and antennae and a black head and body. It was remarkably purposeful as it moved through the leaf litter searching for something. What, I only found out later, when I decided that this had to be a pompilid wasp. The Pompilidae are spider hunters. They are solitary, indeed some are so solitary that they do not need a mate, What species this is I don’t know, and what type of spider she hunts for I don’t know either. It would be really interesting to find out. I will go back to this site (on a track in Doi Sutep-Pui National Park and see if I can find another one; or maybe the same one again (I wonder how long they live for?). Anyway, it was amazing to see her, and to think about her flying along and hunting thought the forests of Thailand to find a kill spiders to feed her daughters. I would love to see her find and kill a spider (sorry spider!) and then fly off with it, to bury it somewhere, after laying and egg on it, for her offspring to hatch out and feed on the paralyzed victim. I felt the energy and life force of this creature in my brief encounter with it, and glimpsed another world.
We all know that proboscises (or is it probosci?!) are what butterflies use to suck up nectar – upon which they feed; but it is only when you look very closely – as when taking photographs – that you see what an amazingly versatile and flexible instrument this is. Butterflies are able to curl and uncurl their feeding tube very quickly and are also very adept at maneuvering it: as I hope this photograph shows.
I photographed this Small Cabbage White butterfly feeding on a flower in Doi Sutep-Pui National Park in Thailand. When I selected this detailed crop, I noticed how delicately it had inserted the tip of its proboscis into the tiny floret in the inflorescence of this flower. The butterfly was moving quickly from flower to flower, and this snap shot (exposure time 1/000th of a second) captures an instance – one of a thousand or more in the day of this insect – when it penetrates the tiny floret and extracts whatever nectar (surely a tiny drop) it has to offer. The phrase ‘God (or nature) will surely provide’ came to mind as I edited this photograph! What tiny reserves (or resources) exist in the world for those able or equipped to harvest (extract) them?