Parasitoid Wasp

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The term parasitoid wasp refers to a large evolutionary grade of hymenopteran superfamilies, mainly in the Apocrita. The parasitic or parasitoidal Apocrita are divided into some dozens of families. They are parasitoids of various animals, mainly other arthropods. Many of them are considered beneficial to humans because they control populations of agricultural pests. Others are unwelcome because they are hyperparasitoids, attacking beneficial parasitoids. Parasitoidal wasps range from some of the smallest species of insects, to wasps about an inch long. Some are parasitoids that complete their metamorphosis in a single small egg of a small insect, and such a wasp is necessarily less than 1 mm long. Caterpillars provide major examples of larval Lepidoptera as a class of host, but various species parasitoid wasps in various Hymenopteran families parasitize their own favoured life stages of particular species in many other orders of insects including Coleoptera, Diptera, Hemiptera and other Hymenoptera. Some attack other Arthropoda, such as spiders. Adult female wasps parasitize insect species, most species ovipositing into their hosts' bodies or eggs. The females of some parasitoid species also insert secretory products (combinations that may include polydnaviruses, ovarian proteins, and venom) that protect the egg from the immune system of the host. Once a host of a parasitoid that expresses polydnavirus particles has been parasitised, the virus that accompanied the egg during oviposition, infects the cells of the host in ways that benefit the parasitoid. Inside the host the egg hatches into a larva or larvae. The larva feed inside the host until ready to pupate, which by then is generally either dead or moribund. Depending on its species, the parasitoid then may eat its way out of the host or remain in the more or less empty skin. In either case it then generally spins a cocoon and pupates. As adults parasitoid wasps feed primarily on nectar from flowers. If they happen to be species that rely on polydnavirus then all adults include the DNA for their associated species of the virus in their genomes. Typically, parasitoid wasps are not considered agricultural pests and are considered a beneficial insect as they control the population of host insects. They are also increasingly being released directly into regions specifically for the use of agricultural pest control. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]









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