Wasp parasitising ladybird, illustration

Wasp parasitising ladybird, illustration

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Caption: Wasp parasitising ladybird. Computer illustration showing the life-cycle of the Dinocampus coccinellae wasp, which parasitises coccinellid (family Coccinellidae) beetles such as ladybirds. Clockwise form top: the adult wasp lays its eggs inside an adult ladybird. The egg hatches into a larva, which lives inside the ladybird, where it removes the ladybirds own eggs and feeds on its fat bodies and gonads. Once matured the larva paralyses the ladybird and burrows out. It then pupates in a cocoon attached to the underside of the still-living ladybird, whose brightly colored body and occasional twitching reduce predation. Once matured, the adult wasp emerges from the cocoon. About 25 percent of ladybirds recover after the cocoon matures.

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