A present from Judy!

Judy found this yesterday! I was very excited to get it! On BugGuide, there are only two incidents in Texas that have been reported for this parasitoid wasp!

This is the Tobacco Hornworm Parasitoid Wasp (Cotesia congregata) cocoon parasitizing the Carolina or Tobacco or you may know it the Tomato Hornworm (Manduca sexta). I had never seen them in person. It was on a Bell Pepper. Recent studies are suggesting now that Cotesia genus may be host specific. This is the third instar. Before this stage, the larvae were inside the cat. This is called endoparasitoid. If you want to get more details, this Featured Creatures site has lots more information.

The white things are the wasp’s cocoon. It will be inside from 3 to 8 days before they emerge. If it is later in the year, the cocoons will simply drop to the ground to over winter.

Not sure what this other little white thing was, so you can be certain I will be observing what happens next.

I cut open one cocoon to get a look inside. It looks like it is almost ready to emerge. When they do I will release them. Common Insects of Texas by John and Kendra Abbot says they synchronized their emergence over just a few minutes.

I checked after supper today and found the wasps had hatched!

Active little critters!

A closer look at the sawed open cocoons!

A close look underside of the wasp!

This is a little blurry because it was still alive and warming up.

And the caterpillar is still alive!

Thank you again Judy for sharing this me! Definitely really cool!

Keep looking!

The more you know, the more you see and the more you see, the more you know.


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