Nature Blog Network

Monday, September 22, 2008

Life and Death through the Macro Lens

Life and Death of Aphids
Aphid life and death, originally uploaded by Lord V.

LordV on flickr captured this scene of life and death on the micro scale. A wingless aphid (possibly Toxoptera citricida)gives live-birth to a nyph that was developed through parthenogenisis (unfertilized egg). Right beside her is the remains of another aphid who was the victim of a parasitic wasp (which may itself reproduce pathenogenetically).

The wasp injects her eggs into aphids, often directly in front of any guardian ants. When the wasp egg hatches the larva eats the aphid from the inside, hollowing out a space to pupate within at the same time. Once metamorphosis is complete, the adult wasp cuts a circular hole in the tail end of the aphid husk to facilitate it's eclosion.

I recommend spending a little time looking at LordV's flickr stream. He is a talented macro photographer, mostly with insects and arachnids as his subjects. (Though his flowers-in-a-dewdrop photos are also great.)

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