Author Topic: Ichneumons  (Read 548 times)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Ichneumons
« on: August 07, 2009, 07:34:33 pm »
As part of his "know thine enemy" attitude to gardening, Dez had captured some cabbage white caterpillars and kept them in jars. Several of these have been parasitised by ichneumon wasps.

In the first instance the appearance of what he thought were eggs ("Caterpillars don't lay eggs, do they?") turned out to be ichneumon pupae. The caterpillar from which they emerged died shortly afterwards.

Yesterday he witnessed some fascinating behaviour: a caterpillar started spinning a silk platform and after it had finished, it appeared to lay the pupae as though they were eggs. That's really quite mind-blowing: not only do the ichneumons parasitise the caterpillar, while they are doing so they control its behaviour, presumably by chemical means. That seems just so much more sinister than the baby cuckoo using visual signals (huge gaping yellow beak) to control the behaviour of adult reed warblers.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Re: Ichneumons
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2009, 07:39:56 pm »
Can Dez take some pics ??

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Ichneumons
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2009, 07:42:35 pm »
I think he has. I'll get him to post them.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

border-rider

Re: Ichneumons
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2009, 09:46:51 pm »
Brilliant stuff

I'd never seen an ichneumon until we moved to the Sth of England and then we had some whoppers.

The behavioural stuff is fascinating.  You often see snails climbing very high, and that's also the effect of a parasite. They climb plant stalks so that birds can est them, and the bird passes the parasites on through its pooh

We used to find groups of snails up in the eaves of the house.