Friday, October 17, 2008

Strange beauty

This Daddy Long Leg's final resting place was next to an old nail on the front porch. I discovered him when I hung up a string of Halloween lights.

I think that there is poetry in the lines of its body.

This creature was making its way across the fence in the back of the yard. It looked like a 'very hungry caterpillar', but I guess I haven't become the fiercely protective gardener just yet. I left it alone and walked back into the house to Google (1) what in the world were the little white attachments on its back, and (2) try and figure out the name of the critter.

Turns out that had I killed this little guy, I would have put it out of its misery.

Apparently, the white football/rice looking accessories are indicative of a parasite called a Braconid wasp. The nutrient-rich little booger had been hijacked and was being eaten from
the inside out!

Adult female Braconids have long ovipositor and lay eggs inside the host. Then the larvae feed on the inside until it is ready to pupate. They work their way out, create cocoons and then emerge to look for more hosts. The life cycle ranges from 10-30 days.

Most sites I ran across raved about this parasite because it saved their tomatoes from Hornworms.

Guess I won't be seeing this (still unidentified) caterpillar again.


Jenni said...


Mintage Home said...

wow, what a trippy looking creature! Thanks for the the research!

nolan said...

Oh dear! Not a happy ending :(

I love that it looks like he was wearing a little blanket and saddle, though. Poor guy.