Saturday, September 16, 2006

On parasitism

Manduca quinquemaculata hosting the pupae of Hymenoptera: Braconidae

It is with some sick joy that I normally dispatch tomato/tobacco hornworms like the ugly mug above to the eager beaks of our chickens, but I stop when I find one being used as this guy is. It appears that, in the world, there are parasites who spend their whole lives under the gracious care of their hosts, and there are parasitoids, who simply stay for a short visit. These braconid wasp pupae are the latter. They will use this hornworm up, hatch, and go lay eggs on more of them, killing them all in the process.

Sorry girls: no gross green snack today.

1 comment:

Liz said...

Now that is a beautiful sight.

Even the ducks will eat those nasty green snacks. Good riddance.