What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

what’s on this io moth caterpillar
Hello Mr. Bugman,
I collect these io moth caterpillars after they get just ready to cacoon, and place them in jars with the leaves if the trees they are on for my kids to watch. Yes, I told them about how long the stinging of touching one of them lasts for a week and that it’s like 100 times worse then a bee or wasp sting. (I know it’s kinda the truth, but stretching a wee bit, puts my point across to them..ages 10yr & 11yr) So they know it’s worth the wait for the io moth. Well, I came across one of three and it has what looks like some sort of eggs have been laid on the io moth caterpillar. It is still alive, but only the third of the size of the other two. Can you please tell me what these eggs are and what the eggs will turn into. I searched on the internet for io moth caterpillar enemies, but found nothing. 2 Photos attached. Thanks,
Judi
Bradenton, FL

Dear Bugman,
I discovered the contents of the eggs (cocoons), they are little wasps(photo attached), and a normal sized io moth caterpillar(photo attached)…The one with the eggs attached is 1 1/2" in size. I found three others just the same with the eggs and quarantined them in a separate jar from the other io moth caterpillars. Thanks,
Judi
Bradenton, FL

Dear Bugman,
Determined, I did more searching..I finally came up with searching "wasps that use caterpillars as hosts" and viewed the images via google search. It says that it is Cotesia congregata. Can you verify this for me? Thanks,
Judi
Bradenton, FL

Hi Judi,
We are very sorry it has taken us so long to contact you, but we have been busy. You searched your way to the correct answer, in a manner of sorts. We would have told you your Io Caterpillar was parasitized by Braconid Wasps. Cotesia congregata is a Braconid Wasp, but it might be species specific to the Tobacco Sphinx, Manduca sexta. We are not certain if the Braconid that parasitizes the Io Moth is species specific. We are not skilled enough to determine your exact species based on the photo of the wasp. That would take a specialist in parasitic wasps.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

2 Responses to Io Caterpillar parasitized by Braconid Wasps

  1. Justin says:

    The wasps are most likely Cotesia hemileucae. It is not particularly well studied.

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