Lesson Plan 12: Are All The Wasps the Same? Observation & Classification

by Brenda Hunt
8th grade biology teacher
Habersham County

Wasps hatched from Lesson Plan 11: Raising Parasitic Wasps , cocoons, dissecting scope or stong magnifying glass.

Step One:
After the wasps have died, allow students to remove the cocoons and observe them again for the openings the wasps made to exit. Some will show openings at the top and other more to the side. The different types of hyperparisitoid wasps escape differently than the original parasitic wasp which is Cotesis congregata, and this is an indication of the hyperparasitoid wasp that live off the original parasite; Cotesia congregata. There are approximately 20 species of hyperparasitoids. ( Seven are common at the Sandy Creek Nature Center where there is a Catalpa tree grove planted for a biodiversity project in Athens, Georgia).

Step Two:
Allow students to study the wasps and observe the anttenae, body colors and wings to try to group them on similarities. Students may then use a key to name them or develop a key of their own. You can get help with identification from the insect classification guides. Students should draw diagrams of the life cycles of the parasitic and hyperparisitoid wasps.

Practice classifying other objects or animals. Discuss other types of symbiotic relations with students.

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