Looking like a 5 mm piece of bird-dropping, this little black and white capsule is a cocoon of an ichneumon wasp. It was attached to the leaves on this young tree and wrapped around it was the skin of its larval host - a lepidopteran. Mimicking bird-dropping and wrapping the skin of the larval host over and around is, apparently, one of the many strategies employed by ichneumonids to escape attacks from hyperparasitoids. Spotted on a young black wattle (Acacia mearnsii) in a nature reserve.
An oval shaped open-weave cocoon made from the hairs of a very hairy caterpillar. After the wingless female moth has pupated she emerged to lay her tiny, pearly eggs all over the matrix. The remains of the pupal sheath can be seen within the cocoon. The whole structure is about 25mm long. The last pic is 2 days later and shows her up on the cage, face down, abdomen up. The abdomen was slowly waving in the air.