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Parasitic Wasp

Parasitic Wasp
Duluth, Gwinnett County, Georgia, USA
September 3, 2004
What do you make of this?

I was taking pictures of the caterpillar when I noticed the little wasp. It didn't seem to be concerned about me so I decided to try and get some get closeup shots of the wasp itself.

Only later while looking at the images did I notice all the little grublike things in the creases of the caterpillar's abdomen. There's a bunch visible to the right in this photo, but there's more in the crease just to the right of the wasp's abdomen. I have a hard time believing all those came from that little wasp, at least in the time I was watching it. So what are those things and what's the role of the wasp here? I know some tiny wasps are hyperparasitoids, so maybe it was after the parasites?

Images of this individual: tag all
Parasitic Wasp Parasitic Wasp Caterpillar with parasitic wasp - Heterocampa guttivitta

Moved from Aphelinidae.

Are they eggs or larva? Are the white ones different from the golden ones? Are the golden ones the openings of the spiracles? We can't wait for the answer on this one! Reminds us of Stephen's

I agree that the white ones are probably tachinid eggs, as in Stephen's image, and the golden ones are the spiracular openings. Based on the info on aphelinid biology here, I'm guessing that the wasp is here to oviposit in the fly eggs, and that its offspring will allow the fly larvae to form puparia before killing them.

Wasp waist
I don't think this is Aphelinidae because there is a 'wasp waist'. All aphelinids have the gaster broadly joined to the thorax and in this guy where the abdomen and thorax meet is more like an hourglass. Also, based on the antenna, looks more like a male of Eulophidae.

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