- Forest Gump If he had studied entomology
Found in the Bill Roston Butterfly House- two Black Swallowtail caterpillars that had formed their pupa (chrysalis in butterflies, cocoons in moths) and something was wrong. Dr. Chris Barnhart sent these pictures with the following note.
"Found a pretty dramatic parasite in the Bill Roston Butterfly House yesterday. Two black swallowtail chrysalides didn’t look right so I opened them up- here are pictures:
Black Swallowtail chrysalis
WARNING some viewers may find these disturbing…."
|Note long Ovipositors!|
|Immature wasp larva|
Once imbedded in the caterpillar, grub or other larval host, the parasite larva eats the host's non-vital organs such as fat. It needs its host to stay alive until it is ready to emerge, chewing its way out of the caterpillar which usually dies afterward.
|Trogus Wasp adult emerged|
Researcher Karen Sime discovered that Trogus wasps which sampled Pipevine caterpillars with their antennae flew off without depositing eggs. They had the same response to their normal prey caterpillars when they were painted with aristolochic acid.
If you haven't had your full dose of ICK! see this National Geographic Video
but remember, we warned you!