Mark Bower sent me these pictures last month, a good example of what you can find with curiosity.....and a good photographer. These eggs are 1mm in diameter (1/25 of an inch), hard to see with a magnifier and impossible to photograph. I asked him to describe his find.
"These eggs were deposited on a wooden post on our front porch. When the first one emerged, it stayed with the eggs constantly. When others hatched, the first one watched intently, and immediately either attacked or mated with them. I say two "hatchlings" get attacked and expelled from the egg cluster, one gets mated with, and several others die (why?) before they could get out (after opening their eggs). Not sure what all was going on there; it all seemed sort of odd."We sent this to Chris Barnhart who explained that "these are parasitoid wasps, emerging from eggs of hemiptera. The wasp is likely in the Scelionidae family." Hemiptera are the order of "true bugs", the order that contains aphids, planthoppers, leafhoppers, shield bugs, and stink bugs that often plague your garden. In this closeup Youtube video by Mark, at 1:03 you can see a wasp emerging from a hemipteran egg and an immediate attempted mating by a newly emerged male who was waiting for her to come out.
|Not all species are black|
|These wasps and the eggs they attack are tiny!|
|Antennae with 9 visible segments|
A miniscule wasp measuring 3mm in length would have a difficult time fly all over looking for insect eggs to parasitize but they have developed a strategy to find a host for their young- hitchhiking. They get on the back of a female insect and hang on until she starts laying her eggs. Then the wasp gets off and starts laying her eggs inside her hosts fresh laid eggs. Finally, she adds a strong odor, warning away any other parasitic wasp that these are taken.*
|Winged scelionid wasp|
|Cute? - Compound eyes, "The better to see many of you with."|