National Geographic : 1937 Jul
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph by Paul Griswold Howes A YOUNG JUG-MAKER WASP GETS OUT OF THE "JUG" Weak and clumsy, it preens itself after crawling out of the urn-shaped earthen cell through the large hole at the left (Plate II and page 65). The opening in front is still sealed, just as the mother left it after she provisioned the nursery with caterpillars and laid an egg. (Photograph greatly enlarged.) seizing it by the throat, lifts its head off the ground and drags it along at a very creditable pace-at least when the ground is smooth and the way is unobstructed. From time to time the wasp carefully parks the caterpillar and flies away, soon coming back and taking up the load again. These excursions are probably back to the burrow to see that nothing is amiss and to get her bearings. If all goes well, the caterpillar is finally brought to the burrow, which is opened and the victim placed inside. Sometimes a single caterpillar is sufficient, but usually the closed burrow, as if two or even more are needed. If more than one is stored, the bur row is always closed after each is placed within it. When the store of caterpil lars is complete and the egg is laid, the burrow is permanently closed with the greatest care. SOME WASPS USE TOOLS Now comes the most interesting part of the whole proceeding. The wasp searches for a little stone of just the right size and shape, and with this held firmly in her jaws she pats the earth down very care fully to obliterate all traces of her work. Some kinds of digger wasps, in stead of using a stone, sweep the ground smooth with a little stick used as a broom. Frequently a dried leaf or a pebble is placed over the top of in memory of the poor caterpillars interred below. Similar artistic temperament is seen in many other kinds of wasps (p. 51). It is noted also in various birds which ornament their nests, sometimes in bizarre fashion. The use of tools, however, is a different matter. Except for certain members of the wasp tribe, and the spinning ants,* which are related to the wasps, no other living things, unless taught, use tools but man. * See "Stalking Ants, Savage and Civilized," by W. M . Mann, in THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, August, 1934.