This is a Pepsis sp. The common name is Tarantula Hawk. These guys are amazing. They will sting a tarantula, which paralyzes it and then drag it to its burrow. Here it lays it's tiny eggs inside the tarantula and when it's larva hatch they eat the paralyzed tarantula alive! The insect world is amazing!
One of the neater finds is the Microcoryphian! Kind of looks like a silverfish but different order entirely. It is not an order that you run across on a normal collecting trip. It has contiguous eyes, is real rounded and has beautiful stripes. We found this little guy running around in the gravel near Lake Isabella.
I was really excited to see a bumble bee. In almost all of their ranges Bumble Bees can be difficult to find because their numbers have declined all over the world. Reasons for the decline are numerous including competition with the non-native European Honey Bee. This Bumble Bee in particular is one of the prettiest ones I have seen with the red hairs on the tip of the abdomen. This one has a little bit of an unfortunate name Crotch's Bumble Bee (Bombus crotchii).
Finally we have a group of California Ground Squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) around our camp. They are actually colonial species which made a lot of sense since I have been smelling rodents the whole time we have been here. About 8 feet from our trailer we have a colony! It is fabulous to see them running around all day AND they love the Texas Pecans! They can be quite vocal as well as you can see below!
If you are unfamiliar with where we are here is a map.
Kendra and John
- posted from ipad during the international bug expedition 2012