Last time I got up close with sleeping Hymenoptera, I was shooting Nomada, also known as cuckoo bees. Friday night, about 100 m from my new apartment, I shot some Chrysididae, also known as cuckoo wasps or jewel wasps, which are also nest parasites of stinging Hymenoptera. These gorgeous little wasps are super tough (if you have ever pinned them) with a highly sculptured cuticle and the ability to roll up in a little ball, presumably for defense while dealing with stinging hosts. Peering at a series of pinned cuckoo wasps in Intro Entomology was a big part in winning me over to study insects!
Unlike other sleeping hymenopterans I have shot (Coelioxys, Megachile, Nomada and Ammophila), these guys seem to use their ball-rolling muscles to cling on to the grasses. Because they were so small, I was wishing for more magnification…I could not even find my extension tubes!