Neoclytus acuminatus – red-headed ash borer.

I was out inspecting the bees last week when I noticed a gaudy pair of longhorn beetles walking about on the back of one of the hives. Neoclytus! Surely one of our prettiest native insects. I hastily stuffed the pair in a jar to photograph later.

The male spent a most of their brief stay in the jar aggressively standing over his partner, as above. The pair would would periodically mate, but mostly they just sat, platonically, in this position. I’m guessing the male is mate-guarding, preventing others from accessing his female.

Neoclytus species are mimics of wasps, and this species bears colors similar to the common and painfully-stinging paper wasp, Polistes fuscatus. Presumably this mimicry confers some protection from wasp-shy predators.

Since I live just blocks from the city center, you might think the wildlife of my tiny yard would not be so interesting. Yet, urban gardens host plenty of little treasures.


photo details:
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens on a Canon EOS 7D
ISO 200, f/16, 1/200 sec
Diffuse overhead strobe