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Volume 33, 1900
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Art. XIII.—Hymenopterous Parasite of Ovum of Vanessa gonerilla.

[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 15th January, 1901.]

Plate VIII. (in Part).

Vanessa gonerilla deposits ova singly on the upper surface of leaves of Urtica ferox, &c. Nine ova were collected on the 9th November, 1900. At the same time I noted in close proximity, if not actually on one of these ova, a small black fly, which was so inconspicuous that only its movement attracted my attention, and it escaped capture. One larva of V. gonerilla hatched out within a fortnight, and on the 1st December I bred also from another ovum a small hymenopterous parasite. Some three weeks later each of the remaining ova produced a parasite. Meanwhile I frequently examined the ova under the microscope, and each contained something black (V. gonerilla larva appears pale-brown within the egg-shell). I confidently believe the entire metamorphosis of this insect takes place within the ovum of Vanessa gonerilla. At the time of emergence of this parasite in its fully matured state V. gonerilla have hatched, and are then mostly in the larval stage. I doubt whether the parasite attacks the larvæ. It is also unlikely that it lives in the imago stage until the next deposition of ova by V. gonerilla twelve months later. It is probably parasitic on the ova of other insects.


Head, thorax, and abdomen are very dark-brown, black to the naked eye; antennæ dark-brown; legs dark-brown except near the joints and the tarsal segments, which are semi-transparent yellowish-brown. Head flat in front and behind; antennæ are almost exact length of fore wings, and placed low on front of head near the mouth; antennæ have ten joints (one specimen has eleven); the scape is long; clavola basal segments elongate; terminal segments short and broader; antennæ elbowed at scape and middle. Thorax broad dorsally and laterally. Abdomen dorsally broad elongate-oval, laterally slender. Legs comparatively uniform, with five tarsal joints and terminal claw. The wings are especially interesting: at rest they overlap flat on dorsum of abdomen; fore wings are battledore-shape, with inner marginal curve near base; hind wings are elongate to a blunt tip, and have a sharp upper marginal curve near base. All the wings have a serrated

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edge near base of upper margin, and appear to have no nervures. The striking feature, however, is an innumerable number of minute sharp bristles pointing in all directions on the surface of each wing. The upper margin and tip of fore wings and lower margin and tip of hind wings have long bristles, proportionally more hair-like than the small surface bristles. Expands about 1/16 in.

Mymar (“Curt.”) crinisacri, sp. nov.

I am unable to ascertain whether the hymenopterous parasite of the ovum of Vanessa gonerilla has been previously described. It is extremely probable, however, that this minute species has hitherto been unnamed, and in this belief I have named as above.

Explanation Of Plate VIII. (In Part).

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Fig. I. Antennæ
Fig. II. Fore wing × 200.
Fig. III. Hind wing