Recently, some kids came running up to me and said, "Hey, we found a really cool butterfly chrysalis that has gold-colored spikes!" I'm glad I have extra pairs of eyes watching for cool stuff for me.
|Pupa of the Variegated Fritillary Butterfly|
Well, this is what hatched out today (actually more like two dozen of them) instead of a butterfly.
|Tiny wasp approaching a pencil tip|
|Parasitized fritillary chrysalis|
There is a story that goes along with my discovery of the chalcid hatch.
I was sitting at my desk when I felt a slight sting, or prick, on my arm. When I looked at the spot, I saw a black speck. I touched it with my finger and the speck climbed on. With the realization that the speck was an insect, I reached for my hand lens to examine it closer, but it leaped away like a flea. So, for awhile I was pondering how I came to be flea-ridden. Later I noticed, to my surprise and relief, that there were dozens of the same jumping specks on the container with the butterfly chrysalis.
Here is a picture of a wasp on a pencil tip to emphasize the minuteness of these chalcids. The point is, they are tiny, they are everywhere, and they do amazing things.
I believe they went hunting....
Which side are you on? The hunters, or the hunted?