I photographed these Braconid Wasp Cocoons on a Hornworm in my garden here in Arkansas.
When I first saw this Hornworm on my tomato plant I didn’t know what the cocoons on its body were. After doing research I discovered that a Braconid Wasp deposits her eggs inside the hornworm caterpillar’s body. The Wasp larvae develop and feed inside the caterpillar. The Braconid Wasp larvae chew their way out of their host and spin silk cocoons on the caterpillar. The tiny adult wasps emerge from these cocoons a short time later.
It’s important to note that hornworms are actually the larval stage of the Sphinx Moth. Although they can cause significant damage to garden plants, they also serve as an essential food source for various wildlife species, including birds and other insects.
I was hand-holding my camera and lens to photograph this caterpillar in my garden.
- Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
- Lens: Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM
- Location: Near the Ouachita National Forest (Arkansas)
- Date & Time Taken: September 14, 2016 (07:22:29 A.M.)
- Aperture Priority
- Aperture: f8.0
- Shutter speed: 1/250 sec. (as determined by the camera)
- ISO: 1000
- Focal Length: 400 mm