Macrophoto of a fire cuckoo wasp playing dead

Macrophoto of a fire cuckoo wasp playing dead

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Credit: CLAUDE NURIDSANY & MARIE PERENNOU/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cuckoo wasp. Macrophotograph of a fire cuckoo wasp, Chrysis sp., "playing dead". Cuckoo wasps are parasites of bees, wasps and yellowjackets, laying their eggs on the larvae of these insects. If the adult cuckoo wasp is caught in the nest of its host whilst laying eggs, it will curl up into a ball and remain motionless. In this way the wasp's vulnerable undersides are protected, whilst exposed areas are heavily armoured and cannot be pierced by the other insect's sting. The host will eventually push the "lifeless" ball out of its nest, allowing the cuckoo wasp to escape. North of Montpellier, France.

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Keywords: animal, cuckoo, cuckoo wasp, fire, fire cuckoo wasp, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, mimicry, nature, play dea, playing dead, wasp, wildlife, zoology

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