amantell20's picture


Observed: 4th September 2012 By: amantell20amantell20’s reputation in Invertebratesamantell20’s reputation in Invertebratesamantell20’s reputation in Invertebrates

Anyone know what the worm-like thing is emerging from the abdomen of this moth? I presume it is either a parasite of some kind, or internal organs on the outside?

    Likely ID
    a parasitic nematode worm (Mermithidae)
    Confidence: It's likely to be this, but I can't be certain.
Species interactions

No interactions present.


Martin Harvey's picture


That is very strange, not seen anything like that on a moth before! I don't think it is the internal organs so the parasitoid option might be the most likely, but I can't confirm that.

Entomologist and biological recorder

amantell20's picture

Strange indeed!

I posted a similar pic on the Glamorgan Moth Recording Group blog (to which I am a regular contributor) to receive a similar reaction, i.e. never seen that before! One suggestion though was that it could be a copulation or defense organ. I think that may be the likely explanation simply because I netted the same moth 3 days later apparently in fine fettle dashing about the garden with gusto. If it had been an emerging parasite, there is a strong likelihood I guess that it would not have survived that long post emergence?

It also had a fair journey to get here. The moth is a Jersey Tiger, the 3rd Welsh record of this species in fact and the closest colonies are in Somerset a minimum of 20 miles away. Even with a stiff tail wind I guess a weakened moth would would struggle to make it that far.