I was witness to something quite horrendous today. We’d taken the path that goes by the pond where we keep hoping to spot the mythical kingfisher when I spotted a bunch of wasps, busily buzzing around a hole in a tree. Fortunately I was using my telephoto lens so I was in no danger of a stinging.
As I sat and watched, a red admiral butterfly fluttered by and landed quite close to the wasps who, at first, ignored it. The butterfly wasn’t having any of that! It started dancing and flapping it’s wings in an attempt to attract the wasps’ attention. Eventually it worked and a single wasp went to shoo the butterfly away.
There ensued a bit of a mid air tussle which the wasp won. The butterfly went off and the wasp went back to join its friends in the tree hole.
Now this behaviour may seem odd but the wasps were merely laying their eggs in the hole in the tree. In fact, they lay their eggs in the larvae of the butterfly. This means that when the larvae turns to caterpillar and then chrysalis, the wasp eggs hatch and the baby wasps eat their way out. A ghastly but ingenious way of guaranteeing the survival of your young. Presumably, the butterfly was trying to stop the wasps from impregnating its young.
There was a much cheerier vision of butterfly life down at one of the other ponds. Lots of ragwort was peeking over the fence and sat atop each of the little flowers, was a gatekeeper butterfly. At least I’m pretty certain it’s a gatekeeper.