Parasitic Wasp from Shieldbug ovae
     
In early February 2011 we found some Shieldbug ovae which were thought to be those of Picromerus bidens, a common Shieldbug on Budby South Forest where the eggs were found. The egg batch had been laid underneath the loose bark on a branch of a semi-mature Oak, felled a couple of years previous. As Picromerus bidens was one of the few Shieldbugs for which we had no images of the ovae or nymph stages, the ovae were retained and taken home for hatching.

After a couple of weeks, the eggs began to show signs of darkening, but it was not until March 11th, that they started to hatch. Imagine our surprise, when the following species emerged. What actually did emerge, was certainly not what we were expecting.

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Although disappointing in one way (no photographs of Picromerus bidens nymphs) the emergence of these minute parasitic wasps, kept us enthralled for nearly two hours and with the aid of a microscope, we eventually obtained the above images. The length of the emerged wasp is no more than about 1.1 - 1.2mm and a tentative identification is a Trossolcus sp (Scelionidae).
 
Insects
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