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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

22 April, 2012

Solitary Wasp: Mellinus Arvensis

Everyone is surely familar with the common yellow and black wasp species, Vespula vulgaris; a social wasp, living in colonies and extremely aggresive if disturbed or threatened. However, there are many other species of wasps, not all of which are yellow and black, and most of which live a pretty solitary life. This species, Mellinus arvensis, is one of those solitary wasp species.
Also known as one of the 'digger' wasps, this species excavates a burrow by digging with her mandible and legs. She then finds a spider (or may be more than one deppending on the size of the spider) and paralyses it with her sting and then drags the spider in to her burrow where she then lays her eggs inside the spider. The eggs hatch and the larva eat the spider before pupating and over wintering to the emerge as adults in the spring.
A bit gruesome may be but this sort of thing is going on, usually unseen, in the natural world all the time.
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Find out more about the nature of Dorset at www.natureofdorset.co.uk