Our Conservation and Research department is doing some amazing work both here on property and out in the field...locally and beyond! Like this unbelievable discovery. Follow them to learn more!
One of these is definitely NOT a #moth!
For the past 2 months our intern Summer Sayre from FIU's Tropical Conservation Institute has been studying the #FaithfulBeauty (l), an endemic moth of South Florida. But she recently made a very strange #discovery. Usually #caterpillars will munch on their leaves, and when they’re ready to pupate they crawl to the top corner of their enclosure, form a "J" shape, produce silk, and then form a #chrysalis. One of Summer's caterpillars, however, did all of these things except form a chrysalis. It was thought maybe it had a fungus, virus, or parasitoid. The caterpillar was kept in a ventilated test tube for almost a month - until a strange wasp-like creature came out of the caterpillar carcass. After careful inspection, we concluded it must be a part of the #Ichneumonoidea family. This is a very large super family, as a lot of the species are host specific. It is very possible that this is a new species due to this being an endemic host that feeds on a toxic plant! #caterpillarsofinstagram #whatisthat #conservation #discovery #savingspecies #zoomiami #zoomiamiconservation