Extending the Vocab.

More often than not, when we come back from a trip that had a sniff of wildlife, we have several unidentified critters with which we need help. Our spring trip to La Belle France was no exception. Here is where iSpot comes into its own; you can post your critter photo there to ask for help. There are some very knowledgeable folks at iSpot and, assuming you are fortunate enough for them to actually see one’s critter photo – it seems to be suffering from its own success and being a little swamped these days – they usually come up with an id. They will sometimes stop short of a species id, often when it is necessary “to examine the genitalia” to be precise. Well, quite right!

Although we’re about to scarper off to France again, we’re still working on photos from our spring trip. Recently I posted a few critters on iSpot hoping for some help and got a little more than I bargained for, in a good way, of course.

IMG_0810_Wasp Here’s the first which I posted as “Waspy Thing” since it looked like some kind of wasp to me. One of the experts told me it was, indeed, a Mud-dauber Wasp, and went on to explain:

black (not yellow) petiole and partly yellow (not black) first gastral tergite.

Quite! My vocabulary grew by several new words.

IMG_9853_Another_Waspy_Thing My second post (it’s not a great photo, I know, but it was very active and I was lucky to get anything), “Another Waspy Thing” which I suggested might be a gasteruptiid, increased my vocabulary yet further. The same highly knowledgeable expert corrected me, quite rightly, and suggested an Ichneumon Wasp with the following explanation:

might be an anomalonine, or it might not… Not gasteruptiid, they have the metasoma inserted high on the propodeum, not low as in this beast.

I find one needs pretty specialized dictionaries, or the InterWeb, for this kind of thing.

Still, I used to think that pterostigma and pronotum were strange words but now they seem like second nature.

I hope we get a good haul of vocabulary-increasing spots on our coming trip. 😀

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