So the wasp didn't stop this caterpillar from eating and growing, but she has very effectively prevented it from maturing and producing another generation of hornworms.
In this close-up you can see how cottony/fluffy the cocoons are. Also note (top, right) the larva getting ready to spin. We couldn't resist. One of our big jars now holds a dying hornworm and its many cocoons. We are waiting to watch the wasps emerge.Interesting things we've noticed so far:
- The seemingly dead caterpillar revived enough to climb back on the branch.
- A tiny (millimeters!), newly emerged tomato hornworm was found crawling quickly around the jar--doubtful that it's going to find much food in there.
- We watched larvae on the caterpillar and on the glass spinning their cocoons!
- Rebecca is fascinated rather than squeamish. She touched the caterpillar and the cocoons.