Unsolved Mysteries at White Tank Mountains Park

Darner-type fly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in White Tank Mts. Regional Park, AZ

You and I don’t like unsolved mysteries. For me, field work in distant habitat often ends with questions that go long unanswered. Some, perhaps you, often make friends with far-flung butterfly, moth, bird, snake, orchid, wildflower, big cat or others whose knowledge and breadth of field work ranks them as regional or national or international experts.

I’ve been blessed to have met some, but maybe I’ve not met as many as I’d like to have met. Phil, Rose & Jerry, Mike, Barbara Ann A”H (OBM”), Nancy & John, Angela, Dave, Jerry and Virginia shared and impressed. 2021 beckons, and several new possibilities beckon. For that, I am, even at this point in my life’s journey, very excited.

I met this insect in that forbidden (signs said do not enter at your own risk (risk of flash flooding)) arroyo west of Phoenix, Arizona. I was in my search for butterflies, there just a very limited number of plants in flower, that summer, with the temperature reaching the upper ’90’s, around 10 A.M.. It flew in, was not a butterfly but, was beautiful and of course, I shot away. It fed on nectar, allowed me to shoot it, and soon left.

I expect that I will never know the species name and common name of this animal. I’m uncomfortable ‘researching it online’ for I’m never sure that I’ve correctly determined the species. I do want to have those who are deep in knowledge of such species to help, but I don’t know who they are, it is Arizona, thousands of miles away from the desk in Macon, and . . . .


One thought on “Unsolved Mysteries at White Tank Mountains Park

  1. Very true! I don’t like unsolved mysteries either! I still have to rely on a few special friends in the world of Lepidoptera to give me the name of a new skipper or a strange-looking Sulphur! And they never refuse to help!
    About this insect, Jeff, I remembered that I have seen its similar picture posted somewhere! It could be from the group which I, ‘fortunately’ were no longer a member!
    It is a Thread-waisted Wasp! Look at the incredibly narrow waist! (Doesn’t it remind you of Dolly Parton’s waist)?
    From insectidentification.org, (Arizona State)
    Family name: Sphecidae
    Genus: Ammophila
    Scientific name: Ammophila spp.
    Other names: Sand wasp
    Some have red bodies and black wings.
    I guess we’re fortunate! It looks like the mystery is solved!
    (Fans of sandy soil, the Thread-waisted Wasps from the Ammophila genus use the loose earth to house their offspring).

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