Today we went out for a nature walk but all the excitement was happening at home. I have mentioned before that the children keep chrysalises that they find whilst digging in the garden, most of them have hatched into yellow underwing moths already.
This morning we had a huge surprise in the chrysalis box, an Amblyteles armatorius, a type of Ichneumon wasp. There are over 3000 different types of Ichneumon wasp in Britain alone so exact identification is quite a challenge.
This is a parasitic wasp which lays it's eggs on moth caterpillars, the larva then feeds on it's host until it dies and the wasp larva then pupates to become the above wasp.
This wasp hatched from a chrysalis obviously made by the caterpillar as it looked exactly the same as the other chrysalises, so the wasp continued it's life cycle after the caterpillar pupated.
These are the chrysalis cases that a lesser yellow underwing moth hatched from, as you can see they have kind of been burst from.
This is the chrysalis case that the wasp came out of, as you can see the outer chrysalis is exactly the same as the ones above the only difference being the method of hatching. The wasp has chewed a neat circle all around the top and popped the lid off. Fascinating!
I'll leave you with a photograph of the Amblyteles armatorius warming itself in the sun outside after it was released.