Tussock moth caterpillar parasitised by wasp

on 24th March 2016

Tussock moth dead 110216

“One of my Tussock moth caterpillars died under culture (above). The body was removed but before it could be disposed of, something happened.

Tussock Moth cat-maggots

“Numerous tiny white larvae began to appear from the caterpillar’s body (above), each wriggling and releasing white silk…

TussockMoth cat-maggots-cocoon

…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.

parasitoid wasp-Tussock moth cat

“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.”

YC Wee
18th February 2016

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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