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Tussock moth parasitoid Here is nature at her most brutal.  The caterpillar is infested by a braconid wasp. Numerous larvae have pupated as small white bundles outside of the host.  Only the non essential flesh is eaten so that the host can live as long as it is required for the adult wasps to emerge.  A parasite does not kill its host but these wasps do and are therefore called parasitoids.   Australia,Geotagged,Spring Click/tap to enlarge

Tussock moth parasitoid

Here is nature at her most brutal. The caterpillar is infested by a braconid wasp. Numerous larvae have pupated as small white bundles outside of the host. Only the non essential flesh is eaten so that the host can live as long as it is required for the adult wasps to emerge. A parasite does not kill its host but these wasps do and are therefore called parasitoids.

    comments (4)

  1. Wow, can you help explain this one? Are the white structures parasites? Posted 6 years ago
    1. I shall add some detail. The white structures are the pupating cocoons of the parasitoid braconid wasps which have been eating the tussock moth from inside. The grubs feed on somatic tissue and leave essential organs so the caterpillar will continue to survive while needed.
      http://w3.marietta.edu/~biol/biomes/symbiosis.htm
      Posted 6 years ago
      1. Thanks so much, I wasn't even aware of the word "parasitoids". Posted 6 years ago
        1. Entomology is a whole new biology. :) Posted 6 years ago

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By Martin Lagerwey

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Uploaded Apr 24, 2016. Captured Nov 28, 2013 11:21 in LOT 3 Cape Tribulation Rd, Cape Tribulation QLD 4873, Australia.
  • Canon EOS 450D
  • f/5.0
  • 1/256s
  • ISO200
  • 100mm