A parasitic wasp of the genus Callaspidia (Hymenoptera, Family Figitidae, Subfamily Aspiceratinae) laying eggs in a syrphid (hoverfly) larva. Photographed on 31 July, 2010 in Edmonton, Alberta. This is similar to one of the photographs from an earlier The World on a Honeysuckle post. The full series of photographs on this parasitoid can be seen at the gallery.
Images from this series are interesting for two reasons – the first is due to the route it took to get a positive I.D. -an image from the series was submitted to the AlbertaBugs forum, where it was picked up by arachnologist Robin Leech, who sent the image to Henri Goulet at Agriculture Canada in Ottawa. It was tentatively (correctly, it turns out) identified by ‘Lubo’, and then forwarded to Matt Buffington at the USDA in Washington, who confirmed the identification.
The second reason is that it was noted that Callaspidia is not often collected – never mind photographed – so it is a special image in that regard. It is a good reminder to examine aphid colonies closely before passing them by – you never know what wonders you may find! A good example of this can be found at the Home Bug Garden, where Dave Walter writes (in Aculeata Agonistes: Ants, Aphids & Aspen) about syrphid larva which manage to escape the attention of the aphid-guarding ants, perhaps by mimicking the scent of the aphids (See images 7,and 12 by Heather Proctor).
So keep on observing – there is much to learn in the interrelationships between parasitoids, prey and predators.
[31 July, 2010. Edmonton, Alberta. Nikon D80 with Tamron 90mm DI lens on KenkoPro 1.4x teleconverter. ISO 200, 1/200 sec. @ f51 (effective aperture) Nikon R1 flash system. Processed in Lightroom 3.2]
(Image changed and text edited again, 5 November, 2014)