Fazerider's picture

Ladybird

Observed: 28th April 2011 By: FazeriderFazerider’s reputation in Invertebrates
Parasitised ladybird
Description:

This ladybird appeared to be protecting a hairy cocoon. After about 10 days I noticed the end of the cocoon was now open. The ladybird was unable to free its spiky legs from the loops of silk. I attempted to disentangle it with a pair of fine tweezers, but despite my efforts it was unable to walk properly afterwards. I don't know if I'd injured it or whether the damage was done by the parasite or the long period of immobility.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

DavidNotton's picture

Dinocampus

search on Dinocampus for other examples of this braconid wasp in iSpot including picture of the wasp which emerges from the cocoon.

rimo's picture

As David says, the cocoon is

As David says, the cocoon is that of the braconid wasp Dinocampus coccinellae. This is a parasitoid of adult ladybirds, particularly the 7-spot, as here.

The parasitoid larva develops inside the ladybird, cuts the nerves connecting the legs to the nervous system, paralysing the ladybird. The larva then emerges from its host, spins the cocoon between the ladybird's legs, and is then protected during the vulnerable pupal stage by the ladybird's warning colouration and reflex bleeding

Record your ladybird sightings!
www.harlequin-survey.org
www.ladybird-survey.org

Fazerider's picture

Thanks, David/Rimo

What a grisly end for one of my favourite insects!
It's amazing that the parasite can eat enough ladybird to grow and then emerge without killing the host outright.