Subject: parasite update!
Location: Hugh MacRae Park Wilmington, NC
September 13, 2013 11:18 am
Hi Curious Creature Catcher here!!
I have an update from my last message:
September 13, 2013 2:09 pm
Three new parasites have exited the body of the cicada. My thoughts would be that they feasted on the insides, as they have left the shell of the body intact. I know for sure that they did come from the inside, but I do not know how they exited other than through the anus. Could these be Cicada Parasite Beetles?
Thanks in advance!!
my last comment:
”September 13, 2013 8:55 AM
Hello! I was in a park in Wilmington N.C. and picked up a cicada that was lying on a black paved walkway. It seemed to have just recently died, as it’s limbs and body were not stiff. I decided to take it home and placed it in the center of an empty console of my car. Upon arriving home in addition to the cicada I saw what appeared to be a parasite wiggling around in the console that measures just over a half of an inch. In observing the cicada even closer I have noticed that several body parts (head, beak and anus) are moving as if something is inside of it! Back to the parasite- it seems to have one tooth or claw like feature in the front that helps it move about. If it did come from inside the cicada I am not sure how it came out unless it was through the opening of the anus, as there are no other openings that appear on the cicada. Could this be the larva stage of a cicada killer wasp? If so, could the wasp have laid more than one egg and there are more inside of th e cica
da. Also, I thought the wasp would have taken the cicada underground- not left it on a paved walkway…”
Signature: Curious Creature Catcher
Dear Curious Creature Catcher,
This will require a bit more research on our part, but we want to post it with our initial reaction. We do not think this parasite looks like it will metamorphose into a beetle. You are correct that Cicada Killers drag the prey to a burrow where a single egg is laid. Our gut instinct is that this is a fly larva, perhaps that of a Tachinid Fly. According to BugGuide: “Larval stages are parasitoids of other arthropods; hosts include members of 11 insect orders, centipedes, spiders, and scorpions. Some tachinids are very host-specific, others parasitize a wide variety of hosts. The most common hosts are caterpillars. Most tachinids deposit their eggs directly on the body of their host, and it is not uncommon to see caterpillars with several tachinid eggs on them. Upon hatching the larva usually burrows into its host and feeds internally. Full-grown larva leaves the host and pupates nearby. Some tachinids lay their eggs on foliage; the larvae are flattened and are called planidia; they remain on the foliage until they find a suitable host.”