What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hey bug guru
I cant tell you how much I appreciate your dedication to one of my geeky passions. Your time and work does not go unappreciated. Please evaluate the attached photos. I hope they meet your guidelines for size. I found a few small eggs on a leaf in a ficus tree in the front yard. Lucky me, I just purchased a new microscope.

The egg pictures were taken at 100x and the hatch was taken at 50x. I live in Mesa AZ. I found the eggs on 4-21-07 and they started hatching on 4-27-07. The little bugger started to warm up and moving subjects at 50x are hard to capture. When he, sorry, or she was fully stretched out it looked like a miniature wasp. Im thinking some kind of boring wood wasp, but Im sure you will set me straight. The attached photos are composite images of over 60 taken on each final photo. The 5mp camera and the Image-Pro Express software are impressing the you know what out of me. The eggs are about half the size of a pin head. In some of the photos you can see small particles of dirt on the side of the eggs. Thanks to you and yours for all your work Thanks
Danny
Empire Fluids Lab

Hi Danny,
These are pretty awesome images, though hearing that they are composite has us a bit troubled. We hope the integrity of the actual even is faithful. We suspect that this is some species of Chalcid Wasp. Chalcid Wasps parasitize other insects, and according to the USDA: “All chalcidids are parasitic. Most attack pupae of Lepidoptera and Diptera, but some parasitize other Hymenoptera or beetles. Parasites of Lepidoptera usually attack young pupae, while those of Diptera attack mature larvae (Clausen 1940).” often Bugguide doesn’t have any documentation quite like this, and as the wasp and host are quite specific, we will see if Eric Eaton can assist us in identifying the eggs and wasps. We will also try to contact Bill Oehlke who operates an awesome Sphingidae page since these eggs look like they might be Lepidoptera eggs, and the Ficus Sphinx is a moth that feeds on Ficus. Thankfully, you not only provided us with awesome images, but with enough background information to continue sleuthing until we exhaust our means in the identification.

Daniel,
Thank you so much for you work on this. I want assure you that my integrity is of the highest. I have sent you picture’s in the past. This Leica will not let me take a clear single image and to appreciate the details of the egg I spent a bit of time stacking multiple images. Im dedicated to the appreciation of mother natures gifts. … Thanks again for all your time dedicated to informing the world on BUGS. It is nice seeing others around the world send pictures and how the site is growing. Thanks
Danny

Hi Danny,
Consider us chastised. There has been much publicity in the world of photo journalism due to photographers combining images digitally that, while they convey the truth of the experience, are still considered tampering. Your photos are quite gorgeous and the effort you have expended to assure detail in every portion of the image is obvious. We hope that both Bill Oehlke and Eric Eaton respond to our queries. Though we do not know the exact species here, we are still confident that your images are of a Chalcid Wasp. Thanks again for writing.

Update: (05/09/2007)
Daniel:
Chalcids are out of my league, sorry! There are a few critters that just aren’t easily grasped in terms of ID, and those are among them.
Eric

Update: (05/10/2007)
Daniel,
I have never seen Pachylia ficus eggs so have nothing to compare these with. All of the Sphingid eggs that I have seen have been green, very smooth and without the upper ring, but I have not seen any under such high magnification. I am not an expert on wasps but I do know that some wasps parasitize eggs. Sorry I cannot be of more help. I suspect caterpillars of many species from many different families feed on Ficus.
Bill Oehlke

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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