Potter Wasp  (three photos)
Genus Pterocheilus

large potter wasp
The only large orange and yellow wasps I have encountered before were a little scary so this large
one made my heart race a little as I was photographing it on Antelope Island.  It was visiting Curly-cup
Gumweed, one of the stickiest plants in Utah, and was being very nice as I followed it around from
flower to flower.  Just recently (2/2013) Bugguide narrowed this down to genus.
© Carol Davis, 9-2-2012

orange and brown wasp
According to the Annuls of the Entomological Society of America (here), there are thirty-one wasps in
the genus Pterocheilus in North America and most of them are in the West. They are generally
large and colorful, as was this one. 
© Carol Davis, 9-2-2012

It never crossed my mind, being totally clueless to most wasp species, that this was a Potter
Wasp because I had never seen one quite this color before. It was gorgeous and I couldn't
stop following it around (Yikes! Someone stop me!). I'm learning that most wasps, except
for the (yes, you guessed it) dreaded Paper Wasp (who stings you for no other reason than
you're wearing a bright red shirt or it decides your pinky-toe hasn't been stung for while
and takes a shot while you're lying outside in lounge chair reading a good book) are most
of the time very docile.
So, hurray for all the sweet-tempered wasps in America!
© Carol Davis, 9-2-2012

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