The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Tag Archives: wasp

Mystery solved

Here’s the image from Wednesday’s mystery in its entirety:

Mystery revealed

I think it’s safe to say that Ted nailed this one squarely on the head (but then, he’s probably seen a gazillion similar scenarios over the years, am I right?).  

The frass-packed gallery of this wood-boring beetle larva comes to an abrupt end at what amounts to a murder scene.   The head of the victim peeks out at the end of clutch of parasitoid pupae.  Parasitoids (like this wasp, for example) differ from parasites (like fleas or ticks) in that they kill their host rather than simply harm it.  Here, the hapless beetle larva was consumed from the inside out by a dozen or so tiny wasp larvae, which then constructed silken cocoons in which to pupate.

Wherein I swoon over a pretty parasitoid (and my awesome wife)

I must say this: being married to a woman who will rip apart rotting logs with her bare hands in order to help you find bugs whilst on a walk in the woods….well, frankly, it rocks. 

This is what she found in one: 

An Ichneumonid wasp

 It’s a very pretty Ichneumonid wasp.  It was nestled in a small cavity near the centre of the log; perhaps it crawled up in there in the fall to overwinter.  The bright yellow bars on the long antennae are a good clue to the family, but I haven’t the foggiest what species it is.  I’ve submitted the photos to BugGuide for help with the ID.   These wasps are very cool in a Ripley-meets-drooling-aliens kind of way…they lay their eggs in the body of a host (a caterpillar or spider, say); their offspring, once hatched, eat the host from the inside out.  Gory, yes.  Also very cool. 

When my beloved asked me if I wanted to keep it to pin later, and I declined, she declared it was too nice to leave behind and that she would keep it for herself.  For her own collection.  



How did I get so lucky?

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