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How ladybugs are taken hostage by wasps

Washington, Wed, 18 Nov 2009 ANI

Washington, Nov 18 (ANI): An entomologist at University of Montreal are trying to find out how a type of wasps lay their eggs on the ladybug's body, a common practice in the insect world, without even killing their host.


Jacques Brodeur, focussed his study on wasps-Dinocampus coccinellae- present in Quebec that forces ladybugs-Coccinella maculata-to carry their larvae.


"What is fascinating is that the ladybug is partially paralysed by the parasite, yet it's eventually released unscathed. Once liberated, the ladybug can continue to eat and reproduce as if nothing happened," said Brodeur.


A larva cocoons between the ladybug's legs and moves on once it matures.


Now, Brodeur is hoping to understand the cycle duration, success rate and the host-parasite relationship.


"Can the ladybug refuse to be used? We don't know. Our plan is to reproduce a variety of situations in the lab and see which is most favourable to reproduction," he said.


Brodeur claimed that wasps aren't alone in offloading their offspring, since magpies look after the chicks of great spotted cuckoos.


The cuckoo visits the nests where it leaves its young and kills those magpies that don't protect their offspring.


And a variety of parasite behaviours exist in the insect world, yet the dynamic between the Dinocampus coccinellae and Coccinella maculata is unusual and one Brodeur hopes to better understand. (ANI)


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