Dinocampus coccinellae at Hartslock

Last weekend, on a quick (and rather cold) trip to Hartslock, I discovered a 7-spot ladybird that had been attacked by Dinocampus coccinellae, a parasitic wasp. The wasp lives inside the ladybird eating its non-vital organs  until it is ready to pupate. Then the wasp larva cuts the nerves to the ladybirds legs so that it cannot move and eats its way out through the underside – all while the ladybird is alive of course. The wasp then spins a cocoon between the beetle’s legs and pupates there while the still living host stands guard over it.

These photos show the host still exhibiting defence mechanisms such as defensive bleeding through the leg joints:

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