Whisk Wasp

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Whisk Wasp Claymation:
by Emily Coren and Ben Smith Whatley

A sexually deceptive orchid tricks a wasp into pollinating it by mimicking the female wasps sex pheromone.

Black Mountain, Canberra Australia
A Neozeleboria cryptoides wasp pollinates a Chiloglottis trapeziformes orchid.

 

“Rather than luring its pollinator with the promise of food this flower uses an equally, if not more, powerful motivator: sex. Undetectable to human senses, the orchid’s advertisement is a precise chemical mimicry of a female wasp’s sex pheromone. This is targeted marketing at its finest, as the use of a signature sex pheromone ensures that the orchid attracts only males of a specific species of wasp.” -Micheal Whitehead, ANU

Read more at: https://michaelrwhitehead.wordpress.com/

Making Of:
Back in 2011, I was visiting friends in Canberra, Australia. My friend Ben Smith-Whatley, who is a children’s book illustrator and stop motion animator and I had a week together. I ran down the halls at the Australian National University, haunting my old labs and found a graduate student, Michael Whitehead, who was able to give me (on ten minutes notice) a few samples of the Neozeleboria cryptoides wasp that he was studying. The Neozeleboria cryptoides wasp gets tricked by the Chiloglottis trapeziformes orchid into thinking that it’s a female. In the process of trying to have sex with a flower, the wasp pollinates the orchid. Ben and I spent our week on vacation together, making a silly claymation of this very horny wasp. I hope you find it as funny as we did.

Ben’s children books can be found at:
Zoobots – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11209904-zoobots
Tin Toys – https://www.amazon.com/Tin-Toys-Bruce-Whatley/dp/1864719931
The Adventures of the Magic Car Wash – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23301209-the-adventures-of-the-magic-car-wash

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