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280 days of Urbpandemonium #142

 photo IMG_0027_zpskfdpfjuk.jpg
How come a wasp shows up at a moth night? This particular type of parasitoid ichneumonid* wasp is nocturnal, and has a history of appearing at porch lights. It flies at night looking for sleepy caterpillars. You can see this one cleaning its very long antennae--doubtlessly important for finding its hosts. It penetrates their hide with a short sharp ovipositor, and places an egg within. The wasp grub consumes the caterpillar, depriving the world of a moth but giving us another glorious orange Enicospilus** wasp.

 photo IMG_0014_zpsomlmm43l.jpg
This one, not content to land on the lighted sheet, landed on the light itself.

* "tracker"

** Boy can I find nothing at all about the apparent nonsense word "Enicospilus."

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
badnoodles
Aug. 13th, 2015 12:30 am (UTC)
Well, spilus means spot or speck, and enico is latin for "destroy, exhaust, or torture". Usually, they have "flecks" of color in the forewing, so its name means "speckled destroyer" or "speckled torturer".

buboniclou
Aug. 13th, 2015 02:12 am (UTC)
Well that was quite a hunt, but I think I found the etymology:

Enicospilus / Henicospilus – ἑνικός, unicus; σπῖλος, macula – Ichneumonides
henikós = singolo – single; spîlos = macchia – spot

According to this Italian site: http://www.summagallicana.it/Agassiz_nomenclator_zoologicus/Hymenoptera.htm

Whew!
weofodthignen
Aug. 13th, 2015 10:32 am (UTC)
According to an old list of etymologies, the enicos- is from a Greek term for "single". I thought the pilus must be from Latin pilum and mean a hair, but the same book glosses it as from the Greek for a spot. "Single-spot" - does that match the family in any way?
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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