A Wasp and a Fly  by Stan Sykora

Insects are often considered as a nuisance. Which may apply to about a dozen or so species, but the remaining millions are actually essential to the equilibrium of this world's biosphere and to our own survival. The two exemplars below are feeding on a sweet juice produced in great quantities by the buds of a particular peony growing in our garden. I have never seen any other peony to produce so much sugar - its buds are distinctly sweet when you lick them and, sure enough, there is a period in spring when it is abuzz by half-drugged insects (mostly wasps and, yes, they will sting you if you interfere).

A wasp and a fly

Mother Nature sure exercised its fantasy and technical acumen when creating insects. No bio-engineering trick has been left untried and there is no end to their forms and capabilities. To our esthetic sense, the wasp is elegant. But notice the detail of the fly's feet - or the "ugly" hair on its rear end - which no doubt serve a very definite purpose.

Detail of a wasp and a fly A fly

Our garden in Castano Primo, Lombardia (Italy), April 21, 2009

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