Copyright © 2001–2011 D R Allan
A wild time was had by our BTCV¹ group on this day, (loud) calls of 'What is it?', 'Aargh! it's not getting me' (whilst running backwards) and 'Get the camera' were heard; work was abandoned.
The excitement was caused by the arrival of a large female Horntail (or Wood Wasp) on the site at Warsash Common in Hampshire. The common names are a little misleading, as it is really a sawfly (Symphyta). The pine fence-posts which we were erecting on the site seemed to be the attraction, Horntails have a very long ovipositor which is used to lay eggs in timber, and they apparently prefer pine, which is what our fence-posts were.
The one in the picture thoroughly investigated the posts on the van, but finally settled on one of the newly-erected posts, where it was joined by a second of these imposing insects. Despite their large size - the bodies must have been 4cm or more in length - they were quite peacable, and seemed oblivious to the people and cameras; intent on finding the right spot to lay their eggs.
Many thanks to Fareham Countryside Ranger, Mark Lester, for this image.
¹ Find out more about BTCV
Home & Galleries <> Contents <> Index <> Contact me