Photo Friday: Wolf spider parasite
October 19, 2012
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I’m busy preparing my talk for the Entomological Society of Canada conference*, which is coming up in just a few short weeks! I plan to give a presentation about the cool/gross beetle parasites I found in some of my Arctic study sites.
Since I’m once again (still?) parasite-obsessed but don’t want to bore you with more photos of worms coming out of beetle’s butts, here’s another cool parasite (well, parasitoid, technically) from the Yukon territory, photographed while driving up the Dempster Highway this summer.
Wolf spiders are incredibly abundant predators on the tundra – you can see them scatter underfoot with every step. Females are even easier to spot, since they are often toting their pale-coloured egg sacs at the end of their abdomens.
Many of the spiders’ eggs will never hatch, however: somewhere along the line, a teeny-tiny parasitic wasp laid HER eggs beneath the carefully spun silk. The baby wasps hatch and then feed on the spider’s offspring, and the end result is what you see up there: little wasps emerging from the poor mama spider’s egg sac.
* Speaking of the ESC meeting, if you are attending and haven’t yet submitted your images to the Photo Contest, GET ON IT! It promises to be a great competition, with extra-cool judges like John Acorn !! Go submit now!