Butterfly eggs and a seriously tiny invader


by Paul Whitington

Wasps are a huge and diverse group of insects. As adults, most are simply nectar feeders, vegetarians, or general scavengers. The larvae of many species are, however, seriously carnivorous. Some are parasitic on, or even inside, other insects.

If you can think of a way to feed at the expense of another creature, chances are a species of wasp has already evolved to do just that.

Despite knowing a bit about wasps, I was still surprised by a discovery I made last week. The tiny larva of Telenomus sp. doesn't feed on an insect. It doesn't feed inside an insect or even inside an insect larva. It actually hatches, feeds, pupates and develops to adulthood inside the egg of another insect!

It really is a tiny wasp. Just 3/4mm long - and that's as an adult!

Click here to read this story in full at Life in a Southern Forest, a website focussing on the biodiversity and ecology of one small patch of bush within the Atlas of Life region.

If you have a story to tell about life in your part of the Atlas of Life region, please consider sending us a Creature Feature story. Contact Atlas of Life.

Paul Whitington