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Copidomopsis floridanum

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Copidomopsis floridanum

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:18 am

Copidomopsis floridanum is a parasitoid wasp, one of the most extreme examples of fratricide in the world. The adult wasp first finds a caterpillar and stings it, causing it to become completely paralyzed.

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Re: Copidomopsis floridanum

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:20 am

Then, it injects two eggs into the caterpillar’s body, one of the eggs is male and one of the eggs female. But they don’t give rise to one brother and one sister.

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Re: Copidomopsis floridanum

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:21 am

Instead, the eggs quickly “clone” themselves, in a process known as polyembryony, and soon the caterpillar is the still living, but completely impotent nursery to 200 male larvae, and over 1,200 female larvae.

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Re: Copidomopsis floridanum

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:23 am

Out of these females, around fifty grow larger than their siblings, developing huge jaws but no sexual organs. It was once thought that these “monster larvae” were supposed to be the guardians of their smaller..

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Re: Copidomopsis floridanum

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:25 am

Fertile siblings, would always eat the eggs of any other wasp that could try to inject its brood into the already occupied caterpillar.

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Re: Copidomopsis floridanum

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:26 am

However, it is now known that this is not the case; they actually seek and devour as many of their brothers as they can find.

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Re: Copidomopsis floridanum

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:28 am

The reason they do this is because the male larvae will actually fertilize their sisters while inside the caterpillar, and only one or two males are enough to fertilize all the females.

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Re: Copidomopsis floridanum

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:29 am

Therefore, by eliminating the surplus of males, the cannibalistic larvae ensure that there will be more food , the unfortunate caterpillar’s body tissues for their fertile sisters..

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Re: Copidomopsis floridanum

Post by sujin007 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:31 am

This process would boost their chances of survival. This is the only function of the cannibalistic larvae, since they are sterile and will never reproduce themselves.


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