Like other sphecid wasps, the female paralyzes living insects and carries them to her underground nest. She lays her eggs on the paralyzed prey, which survive for the several weeks required for larval development.
Posts Tagged ‘wasp’
Ichneumonidae is the largest family of the order Hymenoptera – the bees, ants and wasps. Even expert arthropod taxonomists often have difficulty classifying individuals in this group. Ichneumonids are characterized by long antennae. Females typically have an elongate ovipositor. The majority are parasitic on the caterpillars of moths and butterflies.
Solitary wasps are common throughout the U.S. These wasps were one of the primary pollinators prior to the introduction of the European honeybee. They are particularly abundant around milkweed plant in east central IL right now.
Females provision their nest with living prey that have been paralyzed by the wasp’s venom.
The chalcids continue to emerge from the ootheca shown in the previous entry. The picture above was taken on the plastic cap of the vial that contains the branch and ootheca.
Earlier this week one of my students brought in a mantid ootheca. Several days later another student observed four tiny wasps on the ootheca. I photographed several of them yesterday. The parasitic wasps appear to belong to the family Chalcidae based on the antennae and the significantly widened rear femora.
One of my students found two of these caterpillars dining on their neighbor’s tomato plants.
The female braconid wasp lays its eggs within the caterpillar.
The wasp larvae feed on the caterpillar’s body until they chew their way to the surface and spin the white cocoons.
The majority of the wasps already emerged, though a few emerged while we had the caterpillar. More about the wasps later…
These minute wasps, parasites of caterpillars, play an essential role in keeping down populations of a number of different economically significant, injurious species. The elongate ovipositor at the end of the abdomen is used to pierce the thin exoskeleton of the caterpillar. Parasitized caterpillars continue to feed while the growing wasp larvae consume the caterpillar’s tissues. Often large numbers of wasps will emerge from a single caterpillar.