A Report On Roosters
And some general questions about wasps...
Since the middle/end of June I have had a group of Scolia Nobilitata males roosting in a particular pine tree in my back yard, less than 20 meters from the house. They roost on the lower branch ends in amongst the long needles. The first days of observation showed they liked to roost to a maximum of 8 individuals to a branch and their number was about 25 to 30 individuals per day. As time went on into July, they reached a peak of 50 individuals, fluctuating between that and 38 over the next week and a half. By the end of July the numbers dwindled rapidly and some individuals were roosting elsewhere, alone. Now, at the beginning of August, there are fewer than 15 individuals at any given time, mostly less than that, say about 7-8 individuals. Usually, I will find at least that many roosting elsewhere as individuals, never pairing up or grouping. In fact, if disturbed by another Scolia attempting to roost in the same spot, the original rooster will simply fly off, quickly. Over the course of my admittedly poor observation, I noticed what may be a pattern, but I don't know enough about the physiognomy of Scolia to say for certain, therefore prompting me to inquire here amongst this knowledgeable group. To wit: is the coloring of Scolia males, from yellow to orange to red, indicative of their sexual maturity or aging? I noticed that the vast majority of these guys were yellow-banded or yellow-to-orange banded. There were far fewer with all deep-orange banding and miniscule numbers with all-red banding. At times there were *no* red-banded individuals for days, then a couple or three would be there, but I could detect slight orange in the shoulder patches. A few days later, again, there were no red ones. Is that the pattern?
My second group of roosters are Psenini wasps, species as yet unspecified. These guys were discovered a few days after the Scolia. They roosted on dead weed heads within a few meters of the roadway. When I found them, they were already at what turned out to be their peak numbers, coming in at around 25 to 30 individuals (strictly an estimation) on any given day. However, unlike the Scolia, this number didn't drop off until relatively recently. Now, if there are more than 6 or 7 individuals, it's a good day.
The third group of roosters is sweat bees. I found these fellas on the ends of tall weeds right at the roadside. Their number has dropped off drastically since I found them a couple of weeks ago. When first found, they tended to group in threes on the stalk-ends. The largest grouping I counted was around 15 or 17 individuals. They tended to move about a great deal, tolerating my presence less and less by the second, confusing my count. Today, there are only maybe 5 individuals at any given time.
All these groups tended to gather in the late evening to peak numbers on most occasions. Oddly, most mornings they hung together until fairly late, say about 8 to 9 AM. I was under the impression they would break camp rather earlier.
Anyway, I thought that perhaps someone with too much time on their hands might take an interest in my ruminations.