For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Vacation Time - Day 9

Believe it or not, it is a WASP!! Yes I know, it surprised me as much as it does you!! To make it worse, they are called Velvet Ants (Mutillidae family). Talk about confusion!! LOL!! The female of the species are wingless and vastly different in color and appearance to the males and are the size of a normal ants. They mostly lay their eggs on and parasitize larvae in large, multi-celled mud nests of wasps.
It bites its way into a cell, lays an egg on the host’s larva or pupa then reseals the cell before leaving. Stings from females are very painful.
This has to be the funniest beetle I have every come across. It came into my room as the light was on without me seeing it. I was laying in bed reading and kept on hearing this strange clicking sound.
I eventually got up and say this one laying on his back in the floor. Every now and then, it would arch its body making a clicking sound and the contraction would make it hop into the air.
It is a Common Brown Click Beetle (Cardiotarsus acuminatus). I felt very sorry for it trying to right itself so I moved it over onto its feet. It was hardly upright before it contracted its body again with the same noise, flew into the air and landed on its back again, so I repeated the story and so did he. LOL!!
Laughing, I tried about six or seven times with him jumping up and landing on his back again before I decided that he must be quite happy as he was, picked him up and put him outside. LOL!!

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