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  • Luke Llewellyn

Parasitic Wasps

A little late for Halloween, but a sketch of the the parasitic wasp. The sub order Apocrita can be easily identified by the narrow connection between the abdominal segments. This is a common trait with wasps, allowing greater abdominal movement and flexibility with the ovipositor. Parasitic wasps, from the genus Encarsia, and family Aphelinidae, utilise this increased flexibility to deposit eggs in various hosts. These can be beetles, bugs, caterpillars, and flies. The lateral medial ovipositor stylets sense whether the victim has already been parasitized on not, before depositing eggs. Once deposited, the egg then hatches as a parasitic larva, devouring it’s host alive. Once the larvae has had its fill, it then proceeds to pupate within the carcass, causing it to have a whitish brown appearance. This is known as ‘Aphid Mummy’. An adult wasp then emerges ready to move on to the next host.

Used widely in Horticulture for indoor growing, these amazing evolutionary monsters are brought into greenhouses in their pupae form to wreak havoc on unsuspecting pests.

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