Subject: Some sort of parasite?
Location: Lafayette, NJ
July 12, 2016 12:53 pm
I found a most curious thing today while out hiking – an asian multicolored lady beetle with it’s shell open, wings extended, and what appears to be some sort of growth or parasite on its back. I’ve never seen anything like this before and can’t come up with any explanation. So, hoping you can have a look at these photos and perhaps solve the mystery?
Signature: Deborah Bifulco
Though we cannot at this time provide you with a conclusive identification of what parasitized this Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle, Harmonia axyridis, we hope that whatever it is will help reduce the populations of this invasive Lady Beetle that is displacing many native species. Our best guess is that it is the pupa of a Tachinid Fly or some parasitic Hymenopteran. According to Featured Creatures: “All insects have predators, parasites/parasitoids, and/or pathogens. Ladybirds are not exempt. Larvae of Epilachna borealis and E. varivestis are attacked by a native tachinid fly (Aplomyiopsis epilachnae (Aldrich)) which specializes in the genus Epilachna. Larvae of E. varivestis also are attacked by a eulophid wasp (Pediobius foveolatus, see above). This wasp is a parasitoid of other epilachnine ladybirds in India, and was introduced into the USA specifically to control Epilachna varivestis. Another native tachinid fly, Hyalmyodes triangulifer (Loew), is less specialized, attacking larvae not only of Epilachna varivestis, but also of Coleomegilla maculata, several weevils, and a pterophorid moth. Perhaps the best known of the parasitoids of ladybirds is the braconid wasp Perilitus coccinellae (Schrank). It attacks adult ladybirds and to a lesser extent larvae and pupae (Obrycki et al. 1985). It attacks Coccinella septempunctata, Coleomegilla maculata, and several other species. Many other parasitoids and pathogens of ladybirds are not mentioned here for lack of space.”
Thanks, Daniel – I just wasn’t quite sure what I was seeing, although some sort of parasite makes the most sense.
Interestingly, I have been seeing more native lady beetle species this summer in our area – many more than in past summers. I am very encouraged by this as I know the asian has really hurt our native species.