Friday Beetle Blogging: A Very Waspy Beetle

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

7 thoughts on “Friday Beetle Blogging: A Very Waspy Beetle”

  1. For many years Dr. David Smith ran a Malaise trap in his back yard in suburban Northern Virginia. He collected a surprising number of species. Among the treasures were large numbers of Vanhornia eucnemidarum, which up to that time was supposed to be very rare! It turns out that the host eucnemid beetles were infesting his pile of firewood. Smith also caught many species of Symphyta, his research group.

  2. Am I a wasp, or am I a beetle?
    If I’m a beetle, then I’m a very waspy beetle
    Am I a beetle, or am I a wasp?
    If I’m a wasp, that makes me a beetle of a wasp

  3. Pingback: Links 6/18/13 | Mike the Mad Biologist

  4. Pingback: Links 6/19/13 | Mike the Mad Biologist

Leave a Reply