Thursday, July 11, 2013

A nasty way to go ....


A few days ago my youngest son and his partner called to say he'd found a drinker moth caterpillar but by the time I went to collect it the caterpillar had stopped feeding and become very lethargic - usually a sign that there were internal parasites gnawing at its entrails.






















Sure enough, a day later this little charmer emerged. The maggot burst out from between the segments on the underside of the caterpillar.



































The black structure that you can see at the head end seemed to be some kind of horny beak, that it used to cut an exit hole through the caterpillar's skin. Within two days eleven more of these maggots emerged and one by one ............



































........ turned into a red pupa within a few hours of emergence. I suspect it's a tachinid fly (click here for pictures of the fly), although I won't know which one until the pupae hatch.




































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