In Space No One Can Here You Scream

Delphacidae sp nymph

Sorry, let’s rewrite that. “Near the local pond no one can hear you scream”.

I have never seen anything quite like this before. The locals must have thought I had completely lost the plot as I was kneeling in mud on the edge of a local pool snapping away, totally oblivious of anybody if they were watching me.

Delphacidae sp nymph

Anyway, this is a planthopper bug, a nymph most likely from the Delphacidae family of planthoppers. They are like the size of a grass seed. But the horror and subsequent screaming comes from the bulbous package it is forced to carry on its tail end.

Delphacidae sp nymph

It is a parasite, a Dryinid wasp larva which is part outside and inside of the planthopper. It feeds on the host, eventually breaking out for pupation and killing it in the process.

Delphacidae sp nymph

With special thanks to Stewart Bevan for helping to narow the species down and for confirming the ‘alien’ in our midst.


Local pond, Staffordshire, England. July 2017.


Please click on an image for a larger more detailed view. Clicking a second time may get you a little closer.

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24 thoughts on “In Space No One Can Here You Scream

  1. How fascinating it must be to see that great ball of a parasite. Do you know if it gets any larger than in your photo? Is it likely you’ll be able to see the ‘finale’ when the Planthopper bug finally dies?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know exactly, but I gather when it’s time for the parasite to pupate it will rip itself free fom the host killling it, if it hasn’t already done so by eating vital organs. It will then spin a cocoon and eventually a tiny adult wasp will emerge. After mating the female will find a suitable bug host and will inject an egg into it to start the cycle again. I guess it would be a case of being in the right place at the right time to see the ‘finale’. Thank you for your comment, Vicki πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Just like some of us…. it’s what’s in our tail that killing us!!
    Don’t worry what people around you think. You are doing a wonderful job photographing the wild and exotic creatures.
    Dwight

    Liked by 1 person

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