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Tiny wasp on desktop

 
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 12:21 pm    Post subject: Tiny wasp on desktop Reply with quote



This is neither the greatest technical quality nor a great composition, but I figure it's OK "under the circumstances".

I was sitting at my computer last night when I observed some small speck of black moving across a piece of paper on my desk. I had no clue what it was, so I hauled out a 10X magnifier and took a look. To my surprise, I saw a tiny wasp. So I briefly trapped the wasp under a glass while I assembled some photo gear. Then I removed the glass and shot like crazy while the critter scurried around. This is the best I got before it disappeared entirely.

To understand the size of this beast, consider the very low key scale that I photoshopped onto the background from shooting a ruler after the wasp left. Those are 1 mm tick marks, so yep, this critter was less than 1/10" total length, from the tips of its antennae to the ends of its wings!

The background, by the way, is polished oak sitting under a clear plastic desk protector. You can see a few scratches on the surface of the plastic.

Canon T1i camera, Sigma 105 mm macro lens at close focus plus 68 mm of tubes, a bit over 2X on sensor. This is a substantial crop, showing a little more than 1/2 of the original frame width. ISO 100, f/8, onboard flash with small aluminum foil snoot and tissue diffuser.

Noting motion blur on the hind leg even with flash exposure, I guess this critter was moving pretty good at the time!

--Rik
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Ken Ramos



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 6909
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Often read of these tiny wasps but have yet to see one personally and from your write up and the size indicated, chances are slim that I ever will. Laughing While at work Friday, a small wasp of unknown identity to me, landed directly on a yard or two of white cloth fabric that I was working on. A female it was and ever so tiny as not to be seen had it not landed on the fabric. The boss would have just loved my enthusiasm as it bubbled over upon me, in getting the wasp on my finger tip to show everyone nearby my workstation. Laughing Interesting photo there Rik, thanks! Very Happy
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Ken 2014
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Ken. I assume this was a braconid, but I don't really know for sure. Long ago I saw a picture of one standing on the side of a large moth egg, the wasp being dwarfed by the egg. I'm not sure this one was quite that small, but it might have been. Unfortunately I don't have any big moth eggs to compare against!

--Rik
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LordV



Joined: 22 Nov 2007
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well spotted Rik Smile
These things can be very small
Think the one below is the smallest I've shot at 0.62mm body length

Brian V.


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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, lovely! Yours seems to have feathered wings. Mine appears to be solid membranes. Big differences in the antennae also.

--Rik
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Harold Gough



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
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Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rjlittlefield wrote:
I assume this was a braconid, but I don't really know for sure.

Unlikely, although they vary greatly in size withig the family. I can't really see the wing veination which would have a number of cells for it to be a braconid. It appears to have the very simple arrangement, with one significant vein on the forewing, with a broadened tip near where it meets the front margin of the wing. That means that, like most tiny wasps, it is a chalcidoid, perhaps a pteromalid but there are other families.

Wasps of this size with fringed wings (see Brian's) are lepidopteran egg parasitoids, mymarids.

Harold
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Harold Gough



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ken Ramos wrote:
Often read of these tiny wasps but have yet to see one personally and from your write up and the size indicated, chances are slim that I ever will.

A gentle "beating" of vegetation could yield lots, as could "sweeping" with a fine net. They are extremely delicate and easily damaged. Like aphids, they might be attracted to a water trap in a yellow dish, or even a dry one (or a yellow shirt) if you can wait and watch.

Harold
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Tesselator



Joined: 27 Mar 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:38 am    Post subject: Re: Tiny wasp on desktop Reply with quote

rjlittlefield wrote:


This is neither the greatest technical quality nor a great composition, but I figure it's OK "under the circumstances".



But he's so dang cute who cares? Smile Seriously cute little guy! He's got that "fresh to the world and wondering what it all is" look on his face.

Seriously nice capture!
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harold Gough wrote:
rjlittlefield wrote:
I assume this was a braconid, but I don't really know for sure.

Unlikely, although they vary greatly in size withig the family. I can't really see the wing veination which would have a number of cells for it to be a braconid. It appears to have the very simple arrangement, with one significant vein on the forewing, with a broadened tip near where it meets the front margin of the wing. That means that, like most tiny wasps, it is a chalcidoid, perhaps a pteromalid but there are other families.

Wasps of this size with fringed wings (see Brian's) are lepidopteran egg parasitoids, mymarids.

Thanks, Harold -- information most appreciated.

--Rik
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