Stink Bug Egg Parasitoids

Back in May I shared this image of a platygastrid wasp guarding the stink bug eggs into which she had inserted her own eggs:

A platygastrid wasp (Trissolcus euschisti) guards the stink bug eggs (Pentatomidae: Podisus) into which she has inserted her own eggs.

A few days later, I found a cluster of stink bug eggs that were unattended, but I could tell that they had also been parasitized because they were turning black.

Parasitized stink bug eggs.

I collected these to see what would emerge, and ten days later I got to watch some little platygastrids chewing their way out.

This wasp’s entire life cycle–egg, larva, pupa, adult–takes place within a single stink bug egg, so the only way to see its immature stages would be to go around slicing open parasitized stink bug eggs.

In addition to the darkened color of the eggshell, you can tell that vacated stink bug eggs have been parasitized by the irregularly chewed exit holes.  Stink bugs don’t have chewing mouthparts, so a nymph hatches by popping open a neat circular lid at the top of the egg.

(Added 3/5/2012:) Based on a photo submitted to BugGuide, Ovidiu Popovici thinks these emerging platygastrids belong to a species of Telenomus.

About Charley Eiseman

I am a freelance naturalist, endlessly fascinated by the interconnections of all the living and nonliving things around me. I am the lead author of Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates (Stackpole Books, 2010), and continue to collect photographs and information on this subject. These days I am especially drawn to galls, leaf mines, and other plant-insect interactions.
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9 Responses to Stink Bug Egg Parasitoids

  1. sarah says:

    This is awesome. I just finished reading Bernd Heinrich’s “Summer Bounty”, a lot of which is devoted to various wasps parasitzing various other critters’ eggs and whatnot, and to have such crisp visuals of such a thing is fantastic.

  2. sarah says:

    also, I know I misspelled that. Parasitizing? is that it?

  3. Oh, what a spectacular series of photos!

  4. rsmithing says:

    Really cool post and great photos! I came across this in researching Pentatomidae for a post I did on insect photography with mobile phone cameras at: http://wp.me/p1UhOK-4M – I’d be very curious to know your thoughts on any of the creatures featured there!

  5. Kieran says:

    Wonderful photos – you clearly are an avid gardner/photographer. Thanks for sharing

  6. Pingback: Silk on Stink Bug Eggs | BugTracks

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