A ladybug's life isn't always an easy one, according to the following University of Montreal release:
Are ladybugs being overtaken by wasps? A Université de Montréal entomologist is investigating a type of wasp (Dinocampus coccinellae) present in Quebec that forces ladybugs (Coccinella maculata)
to carry their larvae. These wasps lay their eggs on the ladybug's
body, a common practice in the insect world, yet they don't kill their
"What is fascinating is that the ladybug is partially
paralyzed by the parasite, yet it's eventually released unscathed,"
says Brodeur, who is also a biology professor and Canada Research Chair
in Biocontrol. "Once liberated, the ladybug can continue to eat and
reproduce as if nothing happened."
A larva cocoons between the
ladybug's legs and moves on once it matures. Brodeur is currently
studying the phenomenon at the Université de Montréal Institut de
recherche en biologie végétale. He hopes to understand the cycle
duration, success rate and the host-parasite relationship.
the ladybug refuse to be used? We don't know. Our plan is to reproduce
a variety of situations in the lab and see which is most favourable to
reproduction," he says.
Wasps aren't alone in offloading their
offspring, stresses Brodeur, since magpies look after the chicks of
great spotted cuckoos. The cuckoo visits the nests where it leaves its
young and kills those magpies that don't protect their offspring. And a
variety of parasite behaviours exist in the insect world, yet the
dynamic between the Dinocampus coccinellae and Coccinella maculata is unusual and one Brodeur hopes to better understand.