A potter wasp – Phimenes flavopictus

Potter wasp (Phimenes flavopictus) Chiang Mai 1
Potter wasp (Phimenes flavopictus) Doi Sutep, Chiang Mai

Potter wasps make beautifully crafted pot-shaped nests out of mud and saliva: nature’s own potters! They are solitary insects and lay one or more eggs inside the nests (or pots) which they then provision with insects such as caterpillars or beetle larvae, for their offspring to feed on. I came across this beautiful specimen on Doi Pui in northern Thailand, which I identified as Phimenes flavopictus (Eumeninae), based on a better picture – far better than mine! – on the excellent Thailand Wildlife website (http://thailandwildlife.photoshelter.com/image/I00003PB4pNCpi.Q). I did not see the nest (pot) but the wasp appeared to be collecting soil or mud to take away to the unknown location. I wonder if the beautiful, slim, petiole-like waist – joining the thorax and abdomen – has a purpose? It may have something to do with egg laying.

Potter wasp (Phimenes flavopictus) on Doi Pui, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Potter wasp (Phimenes flavopictus) on Doi Pui, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Potter wasp (Phimenes flavopictus) Chiang Mai 2
Potter wasp (Phimenes flavopictus) Doi Sutep, Chiang Mai
Potter wasp (Phimenes flavopictus) Chiang Mai 3
Potter wasp (Phimenes flavopictus) Doi Sutep, Chiang Mai

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