Dinocampus coccinellae - Cocoon under 7-Spot ladybird
A message on waarneming today reminded me that I had this one sitting on my hard disk to upload sometime ...
Here we see the cocoon that was spun by the wasp larva that emerged from the 7-spot ladybird after the Dinocampus mother had laid her egg in the ladybird and the larva developed by feeding on the body tissues of the beetle. The beetle is "zombified" by chemicals secreted by the larva and will remain "sitting" on the cocoon, hence providing some extra protection for the developing wasp. Some beetles survive this ordeal and in time will walk away alive. I've seen that happen with a 7-spot, but I don't clearly remember if it was this one or some other.
''Dinocampus coccinellae'' is a braconid wasp parasite of coccinellid beetles, including the spotted lady beetle, ''Coleomegilla maculata''. ''D. coccinellae'' has been described as turning its ladybird host into a temporary "zombie" guarding the wasp cocoon. About 25% of ''Coleomegilla maculata'' recover after the cocoon they are guarding matures, although the proportion of other ladybird species which recover is much lower.