In February, I posted about hyperparasitic Ichneumonids, and yesterday the story took a further amazing twist.
To summarise, the Ichneumonid I had been following was a hyperparasite, which was targetting the larvae of the primary parasite already inside the sawfly larva. Since then I have been searching for the primary parasite to complete the picture.
Yesterday I found a new Ichneumonid ovipositing in the sawfly larvae, but the ovipositing process was the most bizarre I've ever seen. This is a shot taken from below the leaf:
The Ichneumonid is under the leaf, with her abdomen curled round the edge of the leaf and ovipositing into the larva, which is above the leaf. I've seen these long-abdomened wasps before, but didn't know why the abdomen was so long. Now I know.
Just in case there's any doubt, here's the ovipositor in action:
This shot shows the Ichneumonid leaving the scene after her work was done:
The portion of leaf shown is about 8 cm. long.
You couldn't write a story like this.