Nature during a drive in town…

C Anon was stationary at a traffic light on Empress Road, Singapore one day when he took this photograph of a Lesser Banded Hornet (Vespa affinis) in the process of laying eggs inside a caterpillar (below).

Hornet laying eggs inside a caterpillar blown onto the car's windscreen (Photo credit: C Anon)
Hornet laying eggs inside a caterpillar blown onto the car’s windscreen (Photo credit: C Anon)

The hornet and the caterpillar must have been blown off a tree and landed on his windscreen. When he had to drive on they were trapped by the slip stream until he stopped by the road and the hornet flew off.

Only female hornets can sting. Such stings are painful and potentially fatal. They construct large nests made up of chewed rotten wood mixed with their saliva (below).

hornets' nest [JWee] Nest of the Lesser Banded Hornet (Photo credit: Johnny Wee)

Wasps and hornets regularly parasitise caterpillar, laying their eggs inside the host’s body, When the parasitic eggs hatch, the young larvae will eat the caterpillar alive LINK. By the time the young wasps/hornets emerge from their pupae, the caterpillar will be dead.

“I wonder if the people who swear by cordyceps know this happens to caterpillars but with a fungus,” wrote C Anon.

For the information of readers, cordyceps are dead moth caterpillars infected by a specific fungus, Cordyceps sinensis (renamed Ophiocordyceps sinensis). The bodies of the infected caterpillars with the fungus’ fruiting bodies growing out of the dead caterpillar are collected, dried and used in traditional Chinese medicine. Cordecyps are supposed to have anti-aging and pro-vitality properties – see HERE.

C Anon
Singapore
5th March 2017

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