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Crawly turned unexpectedly creepy..

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Crawly turned unexpectedly creepy..

Post  rjeverett on 5/27/2012, 11:37 am

So during a daily pick and squish I decided to put one of the moth caterpillars in my children's bug keeper so they could observe the metamorphosis process. A few days into it one of my three year old's decided he looked thirsty and puts a few drops of juice in the keeper. Luckily I caught it early enough and was able to dry off the caterpillar and his domicile before any damage was done. However, later that evening I observed tiny little green dots on his back, I thought maybe he had been hurt afterall and kept an eye on him. The next day I realize this was not damage done by us but possibly a parasite, because those green dots had gotten bigger and looked like eggs. Two days later, Mr. Caterpillar is still alive, albeit a lot more sluggish, and I finally got my good camera charged so I could snap this..

I tried googling these particular eggs to no avail. Anybody an expert (or at least familiar) with what is growing on this little guy? Inquiring minds! study
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Re: Crawly turned unexpectedly creepy..

Post  Turan on 5/27/2012, 1:20 pm

Does this look about right?

Parasitic Wasp Larvae Emerging from Caterpillar

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Re: Crawly turned unexpectedly creepy..

Post  rjeverett on 5/27/2012, 1:49 pm

Turan wrote:Does this look about right?

Parasitic Wasp Larvae Emerging from Caterpillar

Oh so creepy! lol Thanks for finding that link!
What has me confused though are the eggs being on the outside of the body, especially since they weren't there days before when we first caught him. He hasn't been outside the whole time we've had him in the keeper, so I wasn't sure of the incubation period of the virus and why the eggs appeared seemingly out of no where.. It's all very intriguing, I was just curious if anyway knew what species of parasite this might actually be?
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Re: Crawly turned unexpectedly creepy..

Post  Turan on 5/27/2012, 2:16 pm

rjeverett wrote:
Turan wrote:Does this look about right?

Parasitic Wasp Larvae Emerging from Caterpillar

Oh so creepy! lol Thanks for finding that link!
What has me confused though are the eggs being on the outside of the body, especially since they weren't there days before when we first caught him. He hasn't been outside the whole time we've had him in the keeper, so I wasn't sure of the incubation period of the virus and why the eggs appeared seemingly out of no where.. It's all very intriguing, I was just curious if anyway knew what species of parasite this might actually be?

I don't know the particulars of this parasite. This is my understanding of the process though... This is not a virus though the wasp parasite can be a carrier for a virus of that caterpillar. She lays her eggs inside the caterpillar. What you see are actually the larvae that have gotten big enough to leave the interior of the body. They will keep hanging on feeding until the caterpillar is dead. Then they will drop off and make their cocoons and hopefully hatch in your garden to go lay eggs in other caterpillars.

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Re: Crawly turned unexpectedly creepy..

Post  rjeverett on 5/27/2012, 2:27 pm

ahhh, okayyy, now I'm getting it..I guess I didn't realize it takes so much time for them to actually leave the body. Yes, that would explain why the 'eggs' seem to be growing lol.
Wow, very interesting and exciting! Look at me, farming veggies, fruits AND beneficial insects! Laughing
Thanks again for being so helpful!
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Re: Crawly turned unexpectedly creepy..

Post  rjeverett on 5/27/2012, 4:28 pm

After visiting the garden this afternoon, I saw my little friendly helpers - Paper Wasps! And they were zeroing in on my strawberry/onion bed where I have been finding the most caterpillars.
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Re: Crawly turned unexpectedly creepy..

Post  rjeverett on 6/4/2012, 11:55 am

It's a wasp! Break out the cigars, I successfully nurseried that Caterpillar and it's guests! For a while I wasn't sure anything was going to happen, the caterpillar quit the game a while ago, so I didn't know if the wasp larvae would survive. I peeked in this morning and pleasant surprise, there is a baby wasp alive and well! My only problem is I am afraid to let it out into the garden because it looks like rain today.. I don't think it will survive long in there though because the caterpillar is long gone..trying to look it up now and see what, if anything, I might be able to feed him until the threat of rain passes and he can venture out onto his own.
I would have NEVER thought I would be so excited to see a baby wasp in my house, or be so proud lol!
Here is my best attempt at a picture, but he is a very itty bitty little thing, and my camera just cannot pick him up very well. That's him though, circled in red, and hopefully some brothers and sisters hatching there beside him
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Re: Crawly turned unexpectedly creepy..

Post  Turan on 6/4/2012, 12:26 pm

Congrats foster mommy wasp!

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Re: Crawly turned unexpectedly creepy..

Post  Turan on 6/4/2012, 12:27 pm

maybe lay the container on its side under the plant you found the caterpillar? the jar would make a roof from the rain. then when it wants to the baby wasps can go out into the world?

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Re: Crawly turned unexpectedly creepy..

Post  rjeverett on 6/4/2012, 1:42 pm

Turan wrote:maybe lay the container on its side under the plant you found the caterpillar? the jar would make a roof from the rain. then when it wants to the baby wasps can go out into the world?

Oh yea, great idea! And I dunno if they'll feed on them or not but I did go ahead and stick the cabbage worms I picked off of the broccoli in the container with them. I apparently caught them during the hatching because they are multiplying fast, last count was five baby wasps! Very Happy
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