Living In Ticks

<em>Ixodiphagus hookeri</em>

Top: Adult Ixodiphagus hookeri
Bottom: Ixodes tick with emerged wasps. The black box marks the exit hole chewed by the wasps
Image From: Plantard and Colleagues

Over half of all species of Hymenoptera are parasitoids. Host for Hymenopteran parasitoids are not exclusively insects. Some parasitize and develop on spiders and ticks. Ixodiphagus hookeri is an encyrtid wasp that uses Ixodes Spp. as hosts. Female wasps lay numerous eggs inside a tick. These develop on the tick tissues, eventually killing their host. The wasps pupate and emerge inside the tick. The adult wasps chew a hole in the tick cuticle to escape.

Ixodiphagus hookeri has attracted interest because the hosts are vectors of Lyme disease. Attempts to reduce natural populations of Ixodes ticks by rearing and releasing Ixodiphagus hookeri have not been successful to date.

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.
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