(ORDO NEWS) — The scientists were able to capture on video the first time, like a wasp parasite dives for several seconds under the water, to get out of there and put a caterpillar in her larvae.
There are very few parasitoid wasps that are able to move on water and have hosts living in the water. Among them, scientists have not yet observed insects capable of diving for prey. This video is the first evidence of the existence of this species.
Very few species of parasitoid wasps can be considered aquatic. Scientists have previously shown that less than 0.1% of the species of these insects known today are able to submerge in water while searching for potential hosts or live inside insect larvae that mature underwater.
Within the subfamily Microgastrinae, scientists considered only two species of wasps to be aquatic, since they parasitized on the caterpillars of moths living in water. However, none of the investigated insects dived under water while hunting. Now researchers found and for the first time recorded on camera the first specimen of a parasitoid wasp, which is capable of diving underwater for a few seconds in order to attack and pull the host caterpillar to the surface, lay the larvae in it and release it back under the water.
The video shows how a female wasp walks on floating plants in search of hosts, in particular the larvae of the moth Elophila turbata, which builds a portable “cocoon” from fragments of aquatic plants and lives inside it near the water surface. As soon as an insect finds signs of such a “habitation”, it first carefully examines the place with its antennae, moving around it.
Eventually, the wasp forces the caterpillar to the surface and “saddles” it, quickly laying eggs. In some cases, the wasp must completely submerge itself for a few seconds to find the caterpillar and pull it out of the cocoon. For this, the species has developed enlarged and strongly curved claws, which help to reach the owners and cling tightly to them.
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