I've had about enough of people unfairly picking on wasps, so I'm fighting back with a series of photographs showing the bright side of these fascinating insects.
Comperia merceti is only a couple millimeters long, but it has an outsized effect on cockroaches. Young wasps of this species develop inside cockroaches' hardened egg cases, consuming the eggs. Like the vast majority of wasps, Comperia is not aggressive and does not sting.
Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x lens on a Canon 20D
ISO 100, f/11, 1/200 sec
diffuse off-camera flash
The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Alex Wild is Curator of Entomology at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studies the evolutionary history of ants. In 2003 he founded a photography business as an aesthetic complement to his scientific work, and his natural history photographs appear in numerous museums, books and media outlets.