First of all, I hope many of you had a great National Moth Week. Thank you to several of you who emailed me pictures and notes of what you saw.
During one of my recent sheet lighting adventures, I came across a unique non-moth insect that I had only seen in pictures before.
A creature that has the head of a praying mantis and the body of a paper wasp.
Literally, its name is a wasp mantidfly, and several of them were on my sheet trying to collect a dinner of moths and leafhoppers.
The wasp mantidfly is an odd creature but one that has a neat strategy.
It disguises itself as a paper wasp because the real wasps don’t get eaten often and obviously are intimidating looking.
You could encounter mantidfly on almost any plant, as they are out stalking other insects near flowers.
My friend, Bronson, saw one last year (I believe) in the Harold LaGesse Prairie at Perry Farm.
Have you ever seen one?
INaturalist lists nine mantidfly species across the United States.
I have documented two of them in our region.
Keep your eyes open.