What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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!!

Cicada with Parasites

Cicada with Parasites

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

Cicada and Parasite

Cicada and Parasite

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.”

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina

2 Responses to What Parasitized the Cicada??? Tachinid Fly Perhaps

  1. Stella says:

    We just picked up a very fresh cicada on a walk, and my grand daughter wanted it on the tray of her stroller. We hadn’t gone far when she got very upset and said there was a slug. I looked, and it was exactly the white larva in the message above. Same story, couldn’t figure where it came from as the cicada had no openings. I assumed it must have fallen from a branch above, removed it, and we continued on our way. Soon another white larva showed up. Again, there was no damage to the cicada. In fact, at first, I thought perhaps is was a newly arrived cicada, and not a dead one. After the second larva, we removed the cicada to a nearby yard. We looked up cicada parasites, and found the very thing we had just found. Thank you!

  2. Lee says:

    Some years ago as I stood in a concrete driveway a cicada dropped out of the sky onto the concrete at my feet. Thinking it odd I picked up the cicada to have a close look. As I held the cicada inches from my nose a slug-like creature wriggled out of the underside of its thorax exactly like the “Alien” movie where the thing bursts out of its host’s chest.
    Shocked, I dropped the cicada as saw the slug begin to crawl away. Curious, I picked up the cicada again to have another look, again, inches from my nose a second slug burst of the the cicada’s chest; and again, I dropped it in shock. I resolved not to pick it up again and turned my attention to the slugs crawling away. Though they moved exception fast for a shapeless body and were making a bee-line for the grass a few feet away, one of them was engulfed in ravenous ants feasting on it energetically.
    I’ve never been able to learn what type of animal parasitized the cicada, but to my recollection they didn’t look like this photo. They were whiter and greasy looking, like snot.

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