Larra bicolor (predator)

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Larra bicolor (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Fitz Clarke
Source: IPM Images
Larra bicolor (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Tim McCormack
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Larra bicolor (predator) Fabricius

This wasp is native to South America and has been introduced into south-eastern North America for the control of Neoscapteriscus mole crickets, starting in 1981. It parasitizes, for example, Neoscapteriscus abbreviatus or Neoscapteriscus vicinus. The female locates the mole cricket in the soil and paralyzes it, laying one egg underneath the cricket. The larva feeds externally on the thorax of the cricket, eventually causing its death. It pupates in the soil.

The life cycle from egg, through 5 larval instars, to mature adult lasts around 50 days. However, the pupae might diapause during the winter. The adult wasps feed on nectar. The female is 20-25 mm long and the male is slightly smaller. The colour is black with whitish marks, the abdomen is reddish. The adults feed on flowers.

For details see the respective page in Wikipedia.