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Summer azure nectaring flower.
Summersweet going to seed.

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“Large fly, looks like mosquito” … So began what figured to become a long, confusing  internet search.  But then google returned a simple result:  it is a mosquito.

Toxorhynchites rutilus, the elephant mosquito, is several times larger than Little Crum Creek’s more frequently encountered mosquitoes. It is also, everafter,  infinitely more welcome.

That’s because the elephant mosquito doesn’t desire blood.  Both male & female prefer nectar from flowers such as the two varieties of summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) pictured above.

And that’s not all.  A female  will deposit her eggs in the same watery spots as bloodsuckers like the eastern treehole mosquito.  That way her larvae can devour theirs.  In fact, each larva might consume up to 400 other larvae.    (The adventurous can watch a fascinating video of this live action on youtube.)

Now that’s one mosquito we don’t want to swat.

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A new planting is the perfect mixer for meeting seldom seen residents of Little Crum Creek.

Some blooming summersweet (Clethra alnifolia), for example, recently hosted several bumblebees and wasps.

Hence came Sphex nudus, I presume.  

Known as a kind of “digger wasp” for nesting in the ground, Sphex nudus is commonly called a “katydid wasp” after its typical prey.

But I’m basing our particular acquaintance solely on appearance.

Contrasted with similar-looking wasps, orangish legs distinguish Sphex nudus from the “great black wasp,” Sphex pennsylvanicus.   And the “great golden digger wasp,” Sphex ichneumoneus, would present both orangish legs and abdomen.

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Until corrected, I’m inclined to call each wasp pictured here a Sphex nudus

What do you think? Seen one around?

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