Meet the Neighbors: Sooty-winged Chalcoela Moth
For the introduction to this series, see here.
You probably know that most moths lay eggs on plants. Then the caterpillars eat the plants before turning into adult moths. Maybe you have heard of moths laying eggs on fur or grain. You probably do not think of moths eating other insects especially fierce insects like wasps. This is not at all usual behavior because most moths are strict vegetarians. But Sooty-winged Chalcoela Moth does just that. These moths lay their eggs on paper wasp nests and the eggs hatch into caterpillars that eat the wasp’s larvae. The adult wasps continue protecting the nest so the caterpillars are safe from attack. In the winter when the wasps are gone, the caterpillar has a nice warm place to live and emerges in the spring to look for more wasp nests to infiltrate.