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Photo#1805
Tussock Moth Caterpillar, with parasites - Halysidota harrisii

Tussock Moth Caterpillar, with parasites - Halysidota harrisii
Big Creek Greenway, Alpharetta, Fulton County, Georgia, USA
September 12, 2003

Images of this individual: tag all
Tussock Moth Caterpillar, with parasites - Halysidota harrisii Tussock Moth Caterpillar, with parasites - Halysidota harrisii

Parasitic wasp
I would love to have a close up of the wasp to place in Parasitica.

 
What a great photo you stumbled upon, Beatriz
...I had never paid much attention to the attachment sites -- is the black structure part of the actual wasp? ...or is it merely a stalk of some type that contains a feeding structure?

 
Black structure
Do you mean the holes the braconid larvae made in the side of the caterpillar when they emerged?

 
Proof that I know nothing about parasitic wasps :(
Aren't the eggs laid on the outside of the caterpillar? I thought the black spots are where the egg is actually inserting into the caterpillar.

 
Eggs vs. cocoons
The eggs are very tiny and are inserted inside the caterpillar, by means of a long ovipositor like the one this adult has. The larvae have emerged from this caterpillar and have spun cocoons on top of it. If you click on the image to see the full-sized version, you can see the holes more clearly. I'm not sure if that adult has emerged from one of the cocoons, or is a hyperparasitoid that is ovipositing in the cocoons. None of the cocoons that are visible seem to have eclosed.

 
Thanks, Charley
...I know that wasps also parasitize Oecanthine eggs -- I've assumed they insert their ovipositors through the 'plug' made by the female Oecanthinae after they have oviposited their egg in a twig or stem. Do you know if this is correct? I found one dead wasp inside a last season's egg case so far (still inside the twig).

Doesn't that right furthest back egg look transparent -- as if empty?

 
...
I haven't read about parasitoids of oecanthine eggs. It seems plausible that they oviposit through the plug, but they may well be able to drill right through the stem--those big Megarhyssa ichneumons poke their ovipositors several cm deep into maples and other hardwoods to get at the horntail larvae within, so a stem might not be that much of an obstacle.

Doesn't that right furthest back egg look transparent -- as if empty?
Ahem... cocoon? :) Yes, it does look transparent, so that may in fact be where the wasp came from. Braconids typically leave a neat circular lid when they emerge,

and that's what I was looking for, but there is certainly something going on with that one.

 
:D
RE: Doesn't that right furthest back egg look transparent -- as if empty?
Ahem... cocoon? :) :D

So do some wasps develop directly into wasps inside egg cases of other insects? ...and some spin COCOONS? :)

 
Egg parasitoids
Yes, some platygastrids and members of a few chalcid families complete their development inside the eggs of other insects (or spiders), emerging as tiny adult wasps. Very few chalcid wasps make cocoons, and none of the egg parasitoids do as far as I know. Most other wasps do spin cocoons.

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