“One of my Tussock moth caterpillars died under culture (above). The body was removed but before it could be disposed of, something happened.
“Numerous tiny white larvae began to appear from the caterpillar’s body (above), each wriggling and releasing white silk…
…until all the larvae were totally covered in a mass of white silk (above, below).
“Within five days, numerous tiny wasps crawled out of this mass of silk to immediately fly off (below).
“What happened was that a parasitoid wasp (Superfamily Apocritae) (below) laid its eggs inside the body of the Tussock moth caterpillar earlier.
“The eggs hatched inside, feeding on the caterpillar’s tissues. This eventually killed the caterpillar and the wasp’s larvae ate their way out. Once out, the larvae formed a common cocoon of silk and pupate within. When the wasps emerged from their pupae they crawled out of the mass of silk to fly off to feed, mate and the females to seek other caterpillars to lay their eggs in – see HERE.”
18th February 2016