The second in our series promoting the breadth and value of wasps features the gorgeous Orasema, a tiny metallic wasp that lives in ant nests.

Young wasps feed on developing ant brood. When they mature, the winged adults leave the nest to fly and mate. After mating, Orasema biology gets weird. Instead of sensibly returning to an ant nest to lay eggs, females make their little grub-like larvae do the work. Eggs are laid in leaves. On hatching, the young larvae hang out in the vegetation, attempting to hook a passing ant and catch a lift.

Like the vast majority of wasps, Orasema is not aggressive and does not sting.

photo details:

Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x lens on a Canon 20D (top), 7D (bottom)

ISO 100, f/13, 1/250 sec (top)

ISO 200, f/13, 1/200 sec (bottom)

diffuse off-camera twin flash (both)