My latest piece for the Creature Feature column is on two creatures I’ve seen recently on the University of Florida campus, the large colony of Mexican Free Tailed Bats and a single Megarhyssa wasp. Both rely on sensing sound in interesting ways, for survival and reproduction.
I wanted to write more about the process by which these wasps locate the wood-boring insects in which they lay their eggs, but couldn’t really find too much information. But thanks to Dr. Laura Timms, who shared her expertise with me, I now know a lot more about this–it’s complicated, and involves both sensing both chemicals and sounds, and will be the subject of a future blogpost. In the meanwhile, check out these fantastic videos of a Megarhyssa wasp laying her eggs.
Finally, here are the references that my piece is based on:
- The stories of “sonar jamming” in bats are based on research by Dr. Aaron Corcoran
- Heatwole et al. 1964. Detection of mates and hosts by parasitic insects of the genus Megarhyssa (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae). American Midland Naturalist 71:374-381.
- Le Lannic, J, and Nénon, J.P. 1999. Functional morphology of the ovipositor in Megarhyssa atrata (Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae) and its penetration into wood. Zoomorphology 119: 73-79.