Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

A wasp that eats ladybirds

The euphorine wasp, Dinocampus coccinellae, is found throughout the world. It arrived in New Zealand during the early days of European settlement.
  • This wasp lays an egg in the body of an adult ladybird.
  • When the egg hatches, the larva grows through 4 instars while feeding on the living ladybird.
  • The mature larva then severs the main nerves of the ladybird's legs, and burrows its way out of the ladybird.
  • Next the mature larva ties the ladybird's legs together and pupates underneath.
  • The pupating wasp enjoys the protection provided by the ladybird's bright warning coloration as well as the deterrent properties of "reflex bleeding"; a mechanism ladybirds use to produce toxic and foul-tasting fluids from their joints to repel would-be predators.