ASP FARM by Howard Ensign Evans


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Only a hymenopterist with a most cooperative spouse could settle on an eight-acre farm in New York enticingly equipped with brambles and a sand pit, then spend hot hours in the sun observing certain insects at work, and then sit down and write ""a personal and slightly nostalgic account of wasps we have known and admired"". Howard Ensign Evans, Associate Curator of Insects at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, has all the qualifications. And here, in a cheerful, informative little book in which the author's interest engages that of the most reluctant reader, we observe the ways of pompilids, sphecids, and vespids. From the primitive spider wasps to the highly organized social wasps, there is a large cast of characters. Dr. Evans prefers the solitary wasps, who sting their prey, then carry it off (there are thirteen ways to carry a fly, the last discovered by the author) to their cells, lay a larva upon it and proceed on their own nectar-quaffing ways. This is a simplification of basic behavior refined in differing degrees by such as Bicyrtes Ventralis, Astata, the Great Golden Digger, Ammophilia, Microbembex, Isodontia, Gorytes and Ihilanthus (the bee wolf), to name a few of them. With a view to the evolution, structure, behavior, and social relationships of wasps, Dr. Evans closes an absorbing, unusual nature book.

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 1963
Publisher: Doubleday