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Emperor gum moth with parasites

Opidodiphthera eucalypti

Description:

Mature larva heavily infested with parasitic eggs from a brachinid fly or wasp.

Habitat:

Feeding on young leaves of eucalyptus sapling.

Notes:

I noticed a hole in the cocoon some weeks later and dissection revealed the dead owner and the eggs inside. Little evidence appears that the eggs actually hatched and what they are.

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20 Comments

Sckel
Sckel 8 years ago

Great job with photos. Is impressive the damage that parasites can do.

MartinL
MartinL 9 years ago

Thanks for your comment Mayra

MayraSpringmann
MayraSpringmann 9 years ago

Fantastic!!!

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 10 years ago

Man, I know nature must go on, but that's a terrible way to go.

MartinL
MartinL 10 years ago

These eggs seem to infest other species too
http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/888...
but when seasons are good, parasites are actually essential, considering most insects lay hundreds of eggs.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 10 years ago

At least we've had a season where so many have made it.

pamsai
pamsai 10 years ago

oh dear... poor thing.

MartinL
MartinL 10 years ago

Find out what happened to this caterpillar infested with parasite eggs =(

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 10 years ago

Glad to see you've added another chapter. Good one.

Dilek Cifci
Dilek Cifci 10 years ago

Wowww!

MartinL
MartinL 10 years ago

Well the caterpillar (Click to view in photo series) pupated before I got to removing the parasite eggs. The eggs seem to be glued into the pupa wall! (The mesh is an imprint of fly wire - not natural)

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 10 years ago

Fabulous! I have been hoping for some of these over the last few years - they seem to be rare now. It would be great to put some scale against it to show non-Oz people it's size.

MartinL
MartinL 10 years ago

Our emperor gum was once called Antheraea so they're very similar. Good luck. Mantids are hard to feed and too much hard work for me. The adults are more fun than any other insect.

MartinL
MartinL 10 years ago

Thanks textless. I'm almost tempted to let nature take its course and see if the eggs can penetrate. However the moth is too spectacular a reward compared with two dozen little tachinid flies.

KarenL
KarenL 10 years ago

I've brought in a polyphemus cocoon that blew down & is now superglued to a twig in a jar in my garage so I will (fingers crossed!) raise my first moth next spring! I will also bring in a mantis ootheca I've found & I'm really excited at the prospect of watching the nymphs emerge!

MartinL
MartinL 10 years ago

You never get tired of watching them emerge. I also breed local phasmids (walking sticks), Hypolimnas bolina, Papilio ageus, Delias aganippe, D. harpalyce and monarch, of course. Mainly for school demos.

KarenL
KarenL 10 years ago

That must be fascinating to observe! Do you raise many species?

MartinL
MartinL 10 years ago

I found only this one today in the wild and will attempt to clean them off. I have others captive bred and they never get infested. Last year some pupated with some eggs attached yet the moths emerged successfully. Lucky?

KarenL
KarenL 10 years ago

I always feel kind of sad for the caterpillars!

textless
textless 10 years ago

Beautiful caterpillar... sorry to see it playing host to parasites even though they're interesting too.

MartinL
Spotted by
MartinL

Victoria, Australia

Spotted on Dec 8, 2011
Submitted on Dec 8, 2011

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