Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Caterpillar Bites Parasitoid

In the news business, “Dog Bites Man” is not news but “Man Bites Dog” is. An insect version of “Man Bites Dog” recently appeared in the Journal of Insect Behavior ( DOI: 10.1007/s10905-012-9318-8 ). Tiny wasps of the genus Cotesia lay their eggs inside caterpillars and feast on the internal tissues of their host. The fully developed larvae will chew their way out of the caterpillar and spin a silk cocoon on the outside of the caterpillar. In many instances, the parasitoids cause the death of the host.

Larva of the Parasitoid, Cotesia, spinning a cocoon

A recent report from Spain describes an interaction where the parasitoid not only fails to kill its host but the host caterpillar turns on and kills the parasitoid. Caterpillars of the Lycaenid butterfly, Lampides Boeticus, were observed feeding on the cocoons of the parasitoid wasp, Cotesia specularis. Caterpillars locate and preferentially feed on parasitoids artificially placed in the caterpillar feeding site. Feeding on the parasitoid could potentially protect a healthy caterpillar from attack by Cotesia.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, Caterpillar Blogging, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Caterpillar Bites Parasitoid

  1. Pingback: Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Defensive Strikes | Living With Insects Blog

  2. Pingback: Parasitology plagiarists get retraction — and a publishing ban « Retraction Watch

  3. I’m really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays.

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