Friday, September 2, 2016

Parasitic Wasp Invasion!

Greeting once again everyone!
Well, remember that large caterpillar that I requested an I.D for in my last post? It ended up being identified as probably one of the most beautiful moths in the U.S, Eumorpha pandorus or the Pandora Sphinx moth! I didn't bring it back home with me on my first trip, but then when we returned to where it was found a couple days later, it was still within about three feet from where we found it! This time I decided I would bring it back and try to rear it into an adult, so I got a large deli-cup, put it in and filled it with a bunch of the ivy leaves that it was eating. The next day I checked on it and saw that it had tons of small braconid wasp larvae coming out of its back!
Here's some pictures.

Eumorpha pandorus larvae with braconid wasp larvae coming out of its back
By this time I ,of course, knew that I would not rear this beautiful caterpillar into the even more beautiful adult. :(  Seems that it is very common for this species to get parasitized by the parasitic braconid wasps, which is very unfortunate. I tried to preserve its body in some hand sanitizer, but it looks like the wasp larvae pretty much destroyed this specimen's appearance, so I will not be keeping the body for preservation.
That's it for this post and I'll see you guys again soon, goodbye!

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