Wildlife Photography | The Bee Wolf

click images to enlarge for best viewing | A Bee Wolf

click images to enlarge for best viewing | A Bee Wolf

 

Um, you don’t even want to know.

Or maybe you do. Maybe you are curious and want to know how something gets a moniker like that. First of all, if you didn’t click on the image to see it in the full size, you are missing out on those jaws. I am sure you already guessed it, the bee wolf hunts bees. She is a solitary wasp who actively hunts down bees, who were probably just minding their own bee-business, happily pollinating flowers and what not. You might think with jaws like that she is actually consuming the bee prey, but you’d be wrong. She is a nectar feeder…its those carbs that fuel her flight energy.

Once she captures and stings the bee, it’s muscles become paralyzed. That’s right, the helpless bee is paralyzed and does not die. She carries her victim back to her underground tunnel where she has constructed brood chambers. Once the paralyzed victim is placed in the chamber, she lays an egg on it. When her offspring hatch, they are provided with a readily available meal. And if you thought it couldn’t get more insect-nerd-crazy, it’s going to. After she has a handful of victims stashed up in the brood chamber, and before she seals the chamber up with a door, she secretes a little bacteria on the walls of the chamber from glands on her antennae. Why? A couple of researchers found  that this bacteria they smear produces antibiotics that help protect the developing larva bee wolf from mold and fungus that grow underground in those humid chambers.

Ahhhh, the more you know 😉

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