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Posts Tagged: wasp

A New Wasp Species? EGSA's Winning T-Shirt

Stacey Rice of the Larry Godfrey lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, wearing the winning t-shirt she desinged. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

If you're trying to fuse art with science and want to draw a wasp on a penny-farthing, but the legs are too short to reach the pedals, there's only...

Stacey Rice of the Larry Godfrey lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, wearing the winning t-shirt she desinged. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Stacey Rice of the Larry Godfrey lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, wearing the winning t-shirt she desinged. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Stacey Rice of the Larry Godfrey lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, wearing the winning t-shirt she designed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2015 at 4:43 PM

What's It Like to Be Parasitized?

A wasp (family Aphidiinae) parasitizing an aphid. (Photo by Fran Keller, who received her doctorate in entomology this year from UC Davis.)

What's it like to be parasitized? Say you're a caterpillar or an aphid and a wasp comes along and lays her eggs inside you. Her eggs will hatch and...

A wasp (family Aphidiinae) parasitizing an aphid. (Photo by Fran Keller, who received her doctorate in entomology this year from UC Davis.)
A wasp (family Aphidiinae) parasitizing an aphid. (Photo by Fran Keller, who received her doctorate in entomology this year from UC Davis.)

A wasp (family Aphidiinae) parasitizing an aphid. (Photo by Fran Keller, who received her doctorate in entomology this year from UC Davis.)

Posted on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 5:10 PM
Tags: Lynn Kimsey (275), parasitoid (1), Parasitoid Palooza (7), Robbin Thorp (240), Steve Heydon (44), Tabatha Yang (95), tachinid (1), wasp (6)

Invasive meltdown

Ants can be a huge nuisance in and outside our homes, particularly if you have food lying around. But now, it turns out, they’re unwelcome, too, on citrus trees.  

A year ago, UC Riverside entomologists released Tamarixia, a parasitoid wasp and natural enemy of the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) imported from Pakistan, into a biocontrol grove in Riverside, Calif. Tamarixia can serve as an excellent biocontrol agent against ACP, a citrus pest first detected in 2008 in Southern California that is capable of spreading citrus greening disease, or Huanglongbing

Tamarixia radiata parasitizing an Asian citrus psyllid nymph in Bell Gardens, Los Angeles County. (Photo: Mark Hoddle, UCR)
Tamarixia’s success starts with a female laying an egg on the underbelly of an ACP nymph. When the egg hatches, the parasitoid larva will scrape away the nymph’s belly, carving out a hole to push through to enter the nymph’s body. Feeding on the contents, the larva eventually excavates the entire nymph, leaving only a shell or husk of the nymph behind.

Female Tamarixia can kill psyllids also by “host-feeding.” They use their ovipositors as daggers to stab psyllid nymphs numerous times until the nymphs start to bleed. As bodily fluids ooze out of the nymph, Tamarixia sucks up this rich protein needed for developing more eggs. 

An excellent way then to control ACP populations! Yes, but only until the ants come marching in. Argentine ants are threatening to disrupt the biocontrol of ACP by battling it out with Tamarixia on citrus branches. While not quite a Vader-Skywalker lightsaber duel on a precarious walkway, an “invasive meltdown” begins when the ants gang up to protect the nymphs.

“ACP nymphs produce a white, sugary waste product called honeydew, a good carbohydrate source for the ants,” explains Mark Hoddle, the director of the Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside, whose research team has released Tamarixia into several Southern California citrus groves. “The ants, therefore, will protect the nymphs from Tamarixia.  We have seen ants chase female Tamarixia off the psyllids, and even catch and eat them!”

Argentine ants tending an infestation of Asian citrus psyllid nymphs. Ants may hamper biological control of ACP by Tamarixia. (Photo: Mark Hoddle, UCR)
Hoddle’s lab is now collecting ACP nymph honeydew to analyze it for sugars so that feeding trials can be conducted on the ants. The research could help the lab produce more effective ant-baits that when left on citrus trees would help decrease the ant population and then reduce, too, the attacks on Tamarixia.

“If you kill off the ants, Tamarixia can play the role of the biocontrol agent it was cast to do on citrus trees,” Hoddle says. “We’re seeing that the ants are impacting Tamarixia in two ways: they are preventing Tamarixia’s establishment in some areas; and, where Tamarixia is already established, the ants are not allowing these parasitoids to reach their full biocontrol potential.”

Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 8:33 AM

Green-Eyed Gal

Green-eyed wasp, genus Tachytes, in a nectarine tree. This one is a female, as identified by Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology.(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

We saw her touch down in our nectarine tree last weekend. Big green compound eyes glowed at us. She moved up and down a branch, foraging for food,...

Green-eyed wasp, genus Tachytes, in a nectarine tree. This one is a female, as identified by Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology.(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Green-eyed wasp, genus Tachytes, in a nectarine tree. This one is a female, as identified by Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology.(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Green-eyed wasp, genus Tachytes, in a nectarine tree. This one is a female, as identified by Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Green-eyed wasp, Tachytes sp., foraging on a nectarine tree. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Green-eyed wasp, Tachytes sp., foraging on a nectarine tree. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Green-eyed wasp, Tachytes sp., foraging on a nectarine tree. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A little somersault by a green-eyed wasp, genus Tachytes. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A little somersault by a green-eyed wasp, genus Tachytes. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A little somersault by a green-eyed wasp, genus Tachytes. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 9:39 PM

Do You Brake for Wasps?

Solitary vespid foraging on Indian hawthorn at the Benicia marina. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Do you brake for wasps? We spotted a bumper sticker on the UC Davis campus the other day that read: "I brake for wasps." It was parked in the...

Solitary vespid foraging on Indian hawthorn at the Benicia marina. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Solitary vespid foraging on Indian hawthorn at the Benicia marina. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Solitary vespid foraging ndian hawthorn at the Benicia marina. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Upside down, a solitary vespid checks out its surroundings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Upside down, a solitary vespid checks out its surroundings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Upside down, a solitary vespid checks out its surroundings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

And away it goes. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
And away it goes. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

And away it goes. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 9:29 PM

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