Male parasitic wasps can detect females inside an infected host fly

A false-colour image of a male parasitic wasp, Nasonia vitripennis


Males of a species of parasitic wasp can identify potential mates from chemicals they give off, even before the females have emerged from within their host fly.

Jewel wasps (Nasonia vitripennis) are found across North America. Females deposit eggs inside the cocoon-like casings of developing flies, using their ovipositors to inject each fly with a venom that paralyses it. The developing wasps remain in the host as they mature from egg to adult, only eating their way out to mate. Males emerge first, hanging around on the…

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