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wasp larvae cannibalization

overhead view of a white bowl in a lab, with a dead green grasshopper inside; next to the grasshopper are two white wasp larvae, one of which is much larger than the other and is feeding on the other, smaller larva.

Sibling rivalry takes a grim turn in the parasitoid wasp species Isodontia harmandi, as larvae commonly cannibalize their nest mates. A new study suggests the stronger larvae eat their siblings both to grab an easy meal and to reduce competition for the food provided by their mother. Shown here, an I. harmandi larva feeds on its nest mate in a lab experiment setup. (Photo courtesy of Tomoji Endo, Ph.D.)

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