Wetenschap - 17 november 2011

Best friends

Bam! An ichneumon wasp lays its eggs in the caterpillar of the cabbage white butterfly.

Its larvae will proceed to eat their way out of the caterpillar. Pity for the caterpillar but handy for the cabbage that it devours. It now turns out that the wasp also provides odours and saliva that protect the cabbage against the destructive cabbage moth (publication by entomologist Erik Poelman in PNAS this week). The cabbage plant and the ichneumon wasp are definitely best friends now.
Photo: Tibor Bukovinszky, bugsinthepicture.com.

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