Braconid Wasps!

Do you remember I found these cocoons on the grasslands last week? I left half of them in the prairie.
They were tiny and bright yellow!
Well, they hatched!

They opened each cocoon with this perfect round lid.

Here’s what they looked like. There were about 2-3mm long not including legs or antenna. Amazing how critters fit inside their cocoons!

The antenna was attached between their eyes. It is important to look at all the details.

I counted 17 segments on its antenna!
The venation on the wings help me narrow where they belonged in the Hymenoptera order. I knew they were in this order because they had 4 wings. I then narrowed it down to the Braconidae family. So they are Braconid Wasps. I only sacrificed two. The other dozen were released to go about their important business. The family is large with over 1900 North American species (source: The Study of Insects by Triplehorn and Johnson). The order of Hymenoptera are both predators and parasites and include sawflies, parasitic wasps, ants, wasps and bees.

 

Always fun to  see the Canada Geese flyover. This morning they were going from the northeast to the southwest. I think these must hang out nearby all the time now.
FOS Chickweed Geometer moth (Haematopis grataria)!

Someone had a good meal. This scat shows why insects are so important! 

The Stemless Evening Primroses (Oenothera triloba) must have liked the rain!

There were all over the lawns in Decatur!

This one was at my house. By afternoon they are closed up for the day.

So we began with yellow and ended this post with yellow. Nature is amazing so protect it!

Keep looking!

5 Comments

  1. Cool, cool, cool about the braconid cocoons! Those yellow primroses are one of my favorites too. Seeing their sunny faces on my morning walks makes me smile. And I heard my FOS white-eyed vireo yesterday!

  2. I'm so glad you do the investigating by collecting the cocoons and letting us know what came out. Great photos. The magnification is awesome compared to what the naked eye can see.
    Stemless Evening Primrose has been a favorite of mine and I used to pot them up for the spring plant sale. But no one would buy them because they thought they were dandelions. I just couldn't educate them. the pinecone looking seed pod is really cool when you get a big one.
    Yay on the WEV Suzanne. I got mine today when we walked by our section of the Pedernales River. You know how when you hear a bird for the first time in a season and you get excited but you can't remember what it is? Thank goodness i got a look at the bird or I would have been racking my brain the rest of the day. It is one of those duh moments.

  3. Kathy, Interesting that no one wants a Stemless Evening Primrose. Such a beauty! I will try to watch mine so I can see the seed pod. Sounds neat. And tho I was out yesterday, I still have not heard or seen a WEVI yet.

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