Friday, 7 August 2009

Murder most foul

I've been stalking a female ichneumonid laying eggs in larvae inside Knapweed seedheads for a couple of days.

First, she explores the seedheads to find one that is occuped - usually by fly larvae, such as picture-wing flies:

Then she flips the ovipositor out of its sheath (note that the sheath splits along its length):

Then we have the repeated act of positioning the ovipositor and laying the egg:

This process is carried out for a minute or so, then she moves on to explore other flower heads.

I stapled together a few photographs of the process into a video of sorts:

Here's a different species exploring Creeping Thistle:

The fungal season has started, so I'll be making some trips to older woodland very soon. This is what I've always known as Bolbitius vitellinus, but I seem to remember its name changed in the last year or two.

Another new micromoth: Acleris emargana, which is a feeder on Salix sp.

Identification updated 13/9/2011


Gill said...

What an extraordinary sight that moth is - looks like a sea slug!

aoife said...

the photos of the ichneumonid laying eggs are amazing

Anonymous said...

Acleris emargana

Stuart said...

Thanks for the correction, Anonymous.