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Photo#465148
Wasp from larva parasitizing a caterpillar. 10/14/2010 - Phytodietus - male

Wasp from larva parasitizing a caterpillar. 10/14/2010 - Phytodietus - Male
Rancocas Nature Center NJAS, Burlington County, New Jersey, USA
Size: 10 mm
I collected some caterpillars from masses of matted leaves of sweetgum trees on 9/18/2010. One caterpillar had a green parasite smaller than 1 mm at that time. I didn't record what happened between that date and 9/29/2010 when I saw a whitish larva building a cocoon inside the loosely woven cocoon that the caterpillar had built. It was the parasitic larva which has grown to almost 10 mm. The adult emerged last nigth, 10/14/2010. I am not entering the dates in the data field because the cocoon was kept indoors.
Here is the caterpillar, presumably Pococera.

And here is a video of the life cycle. It is possible to see the larva spinning its cocoon and later on the pupa wiggling and wriggling and rolling over. I had no idea that pupae could be so active.

Images of this individual: tag all
Wasp from larva parasitizing a caterpillar. 10/14/2010 - Phytodietus - male Wasp from larva parasitizing a caterpillar. 10/14/2010 - Phytodietus - male Wasp parasitizing a Pococera caterpillar. 9/22/2010 - Phytodietus Larva building a cocoon. 9/29/2010 - Phytodietus Larva inside finished cocoon. 10/1/2010 - Phytodietus Pupa inside cocoon. 10/9/2010 - Phytodietus Older pupa. 10/12/2010 - Phytodietus Pupal case. 10/14/2010 - Phytodietus Wasp parasitizing a caterpillar, wing detail. 10/18/2010 - Phytodietus - male

Moved
Moved from parasitic Apocrita.

Phytodietus
There is a record of Phytodietus plesius Rohwer being reared from Pococera. Phytodietus plesius was resurrected from synonymy with Phytodietus burgessi by the late Conrad Loan. I do not presently have a copy of the Loan revision of Phytodietus, but I don't presume that it would necessarily help for identifying the species from the image.

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