Parasitoid wasp

Parasitoid wasp

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Credit: VAUGHAN FLEMING/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Parasitoid wasp (Aphidius sp., black, far left) about to lay an egg in an aphid, with an already parasitised aphid nearby. This wasp is an effective biological control agent, reducing aphid populations on crop plants and flowers. The female injects an egg into a healthy aphid using her ovipositor which pierces the victim's abdomen. The aphid continues to feed as the egg develops but as soon as the wasp larva hatches it begins to eat its host from within. The aphid swells and darkens (as seen here at centre left) and eventually hardens into a "mummy". Inside the mummy the lava spins itself a cocoon and emerges as an adult around 15 days later.

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Keywords: agricultural, agriculture, animals, aphidius sp, aphids, attacking, biological, biological control agent, crops, egg-laying, hymenopteran, insects, leaf, mummified, nature, ovipositing, ovipositor, parasite, parasitised, parasitising, parasitoid, pest, pest control, reproducing, reproduction, reproductive, wasp, wildlife, zoology

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