Take a gecko at this…

The 15th-century tomb of Isa Khan.

While visiting Humayun’s Tomb complex in Delhi on October 23, we came across the following scenario on the wall of the tomb of Isa Khan. I had been following the occasional wasp that flew by with legs dangling (the wasp’s legs, not mine…) until I found where they were nesting. I did not take macro equipment with me on this trip†, so I did the best that I could with the 24–105mm lens on my Canon 6D. The following photos have all been cropped.


The gecko was waiting at the entrance to the wasp nest, and I assumed it was looking for an opportunity to prey on these wasps… 

…but when the wasp emerged from the nest to walk on the gecko’s head, I had to change that thought.


The wasp paused a moment and then flew off.


Soon after the wasp flew off, the gecko zipped into the hole and settled down inside. The wasps continued entering and leaving the nest while it sat there, just the tail in view.

I haven’t been able to positively ID either of these. I believe that the wasp is a Polistes sp. and that the gecko is Common Asian House Gecko, Hemidactylus frenatus. Any help correcting those tentative ID’s would be appreciated!


† I, too, questioned my sanity when deciding to leave the macro equipment at home. This was mostly a trip for cultural/historical purposes, following my wife (dutifull, ain’t I?) as she pursued one of her childhood fascinations. We had to travel light, as we were moving in a variety of transportation over 4 weeks including planes, trains, buses, cars and a lot of autorickshaws, so we had to cut our packing to the bone. We were staying mostly in dry Rajasthan, so I didn’t anticipate a lot of bugs. It turns out the sacrifice was well founded: there were only 3 days out of 28 that I wished for my macro equipment. For anyone interested, I’ve started posting images from the India trip on the other blog.
This entry was posted in Apidae, Bugs, Diversion, Hymenoptera, photography, Season, Winter and tagged , , , .


  1. Annie Pang 7 January, 2018 at 7:36 PM #

    That’s quite the story Adrian…love the pics. Interesting relationship between these two creatures. Symbiotic??

    • Adrian 11 January, 2018 at 10:36 AM #

      Thanks, Annie. An interesting relationship indeed, but I’m not sure if this is a regular thing or just a rare occurrence. I can see that the gecko benefits from the protection, but not sure how the wasps would benefit.

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