Saturday, 16 February 2013

Caterpillar mummified by Aleiodes sp. near borealis

On 1st February 2013 I found this mummified noctuid caterpillar attached to a gorse flower on Baildon Moor, VC64.
 This is likely to have played host to the parasitoid currently named Aleiodes borealis, which has a rather broad host range of moth larvae in the overwintering generation, especially Xestia and Noctua species.
The RES handbook "CLASSIFICATION AND BIOLOGY OF BRACONID WASPS" (Shaw & Huddlestone) states that "In most cases the host is killed when only partly grown and the mummy is stuck to the foodplant (or often another substrate, following a well characterised behavioural change by the stricken host) by mean of a gluey fluid through an antero-ventral slit cut in the host integument by the fully grown parasitoid larva".

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