Parasitic wasp larvae on caterpillar

Parasitic wasp larvae on caterpillar

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Credit: VAUGHAN FLEMING/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Coccoons of parasitic braconid larvae surrounding the caterpillar of the large heath butterfly, Coenonympha tullia. Braconid wasps, close relatives of the ichneumon wasps, parasitise lepidopteran caterpillars and also the larvae of beetles and flies. The brachonid wasp lays its eggs inside the caterpillar, using its long ovipositor, and the larvae begin to eat the still- living caterpillar from within. Once the larva are fully grown, they leave the body of the host almost simultaneously and begin to spin their cocoons on the surface of the dying caterpillar.

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Keywords: animal, braconid cocoons, braconid larva, braconid larvae, heath butterfly, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, nature, parasite, wasp, wildlife, zoology

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