The purpose of this blog is simple. My name is Thomas Knight and I am a zoo keeper. Since I have worked as a zoo keeper at several zoos, I obviously love animals. I love plants as well, as it happens. And fungi. And other forms of life as well. Viruses too, even though nobody is quite sure if they qualify as life forms. So each day I will pick some species of living thing that I think is really cool (and not necessarily just organisms that I worked with as a zoo keeper) and I will tell you why. Maybe it's because it has an amazing life history. Maybe it's because I think its nose looks funny. Who knows (well, you will after you read my post, I suppose)? One or two things about it and then you can move on and get on with your day. If you're looking for deep thoughts you've come to the wrong place (if you're looking for conservation, you may instead be looking for this place.) On the other hand, if you're looking for cool organisms, you may just have found the mothership.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chrysis ignita

Chrysis ignita by Kurt Kulac
Chrysis ignita by Kurt Kulac
Chrysis ignita is a type of cuckoo wasp.  They only grow to ~12 mm long so they are quite a tiny wasp.  They do not raise their own offspring, but instead lay their eggs in the nests of solitary bees (mostly mason bees).  Their larvae hatch before the bee larvae do and the young Chrysis ignita eats the food stored away for the bee larvae as well as the larvae themselves.  They are called cuckoo wasps because they lay their eggs in the nests of other species, the same as many cuckoo species do.  Not very nice behavior for a guest, but I suppose when you are such beautiful metallic iridescent colors you sometimes feel that you can skip the social niceties.

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