Currently viewing the category: "Braconids and Chalcids"
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Subject: identify bug
Location: cuernavaca, morelos, mexico
February 2, 2017 10:42 pm
Hello bugman,
I am a biology teacher in Mexico and my kids found this bug. I am pretty sure it will turn into a butterfly or a moth, ad would like to identify it to make a case kid my students. Please help!
Thank you
Signature: Teacher Nadine

Parasitized Caterpillar

Dear Teacher Nadine,
We are not certain if this is a Brushfooted Butterfly Caterpillar in the family Nymphalidae or an early instar Giant Silkmoth Caterpillar in the family Saturniidae, but we can tell you for certain it will not turn into either a butterfly or a moth as it has been attacked by a Parasitic Wasp that laid eggs upon it.  The eggs hatched and the larval wasps feed on the internal organs, then emerged and pupated on the Caterpillar’s body.  The wasp pupae are the white rice-like objects visible in your images.  This caterpillar will die before reaching maturity.  We will attempt to get a more definitive caterpillar identification from Keith Wolfe.

Parasitized Caterpillar

Keith Wolfe Responds
Dear Teacher Nadine and Professor Bugman,
Yes, this is an unfortunate immature saturniid, POSSIBLY in the genus Hylesia (sorry, moth caterpillars are not my forte).
Best wishes,
Keith

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Subject: parasitoid wasp
Location: Cochise County, AZ
August 1, 2016 10:15 am
Hello! The bug in the picture seems like a parasitoid wasp and I wonder what kind it is and what it is doing on the cadaver of a rat. It looks like it’s stinging the rat but it shouldn’t be laying eggs on it, right? Maybe feeding on small flies on it? The photo was taken March 8th, 2015. Thank you for your help!
Signature: Kana

Parasitoid Wasp on Rat Carcass

Parasitoid Wasp on Rat Carcass

Dear Kana,
We are currently going back through requests sent in the past few weeks that we did not yet open, and we are awestruck at this image.  We agree it is a Parasitoid Wasp and that the host is likely the immature stage of a fly or beetle that is attracted to carrion.  We have not begun the research on this yet, but we did send your image to Eric Eaton to get his input as well.  We are posting it as unidentified and are going to immediately begin to do some research.  This is a very exciting posting for us and we hope to be able to identify the genus or species for you.  This is the kind of posting that validates our practice of going back a few weeks out of guilt to look at all the requests we have left unanswered.

Parasitoid Wasp on Rat Carcass

Parasitoid Wasp on Rat Carcass

Upon doing a web search for “Braconid on Carrion” we found a Google Books online pdf from The Entomologist’s Monthly Magazine, Volume 43 that states:  “Few Hymenoptera are found in carrion; the commonest is a Braconid, Alysia manducator, which is parasitic upon both the Dipterous and Coleopterous larvae (cf. Marshall, Bracon, d’Europ., ii.377); I first took it on a foal at Brockenhurst in May and subsequently on a rabbit in June, also on a horse’s shin bone and a cow’s head in the same month.  An Ichneumonid, Atractodes bicolor, which may be hyperparasitic on the last species (cf. Morley, Ichn. Brit., i, 291 et ii) was taken in a rabbit in September, 1895, in a cow’s head at Lyndhurst in August and in a mole in June; its cousin, A. gilvipes, was once found in a rabbit early in June, 1903.  A second kind of Braconid (? Rhogas sp.) was taken in the same kind of animal at the end of September, 1899; and a third, Meteorus filator, in a rabbit in November. ”  All that is from an old English publication, but it does validate that there are Parasitoid Wasps that will search for hosts on carrion.  We searched BugGuide for the genus Atractodes, and worked backwards to the subfamily Cryptinae, and BugGuide states:  “Mostly external parasites of pupae and cocoons; a few attack wood-boring beetle larvae, others attack larvae of Diptera, a few are hyperparasites of braconids and other ichneumons.”  We similarly searched Alysia on BugGuide and back to the Tribe Alysiini on BugGuide where it states:  “Often in moist habitats and decaying substrates, where host larvae are likely to be found” and “Larvae are parasitoids that feed on larvae of cyclorrhaphous Diptera (advanced flies with short antennae).”  We followed other links and did not find anything that looks like your Parasitoid Wasp, but we know we are on the right track.

Eric Eaton responds
Daniel:
Interesting.  Definitely one of the colorful Braconidae, and she is certainly ovipositing on *something.*
Eric
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
http://bugeric.blogspot.com/

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for your reply!  I’m so excited to hear from you.  Your second email is very informative and answers my question why the wasp was on the carrion.  This is the first time I posted my photo on any public website and I’m glad I did.  Hope to hear from you with the species name and I really appreciate your time and effort.
Kana

Update from Kana:  August 23, 2016
Dear Daniel,
BugGuide had a photo of wasp very similar to mine and it was taken in my area:  http://bugguide.net/node/view/464251
They filed it under subfamily Agathidinae.  The only thing is that they say it hosts Lepidoptera larvae and it doesn’t explain why mine was on rat.  But thank you for your help!
Kana

Hi again Kana,
The BugGuide information “hosts: Lepidoptera larvae” is so general it might not apply to all members of the subfamily.  Some parasitic Hymenopterans are not well studied and many have mysterious life cycles.  The BugGuide information might also be wrong.  Thanks for the update.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wood eating mystery!!
Location: Southeast idaho
August 5, 2016 4:40 pm
Hoping you can identify this bug for me. I live in southeast Idaho and the other day I noticed a VERY loud chewing sound coming from a pile of branches I have in my backyard. When I went over to look all I could see was sawdust looking stuff all over, but I couldn’t find any bugs anywhere. Then today I noticed a few of these bugs flying around. I was nervous at first because it looked like a termite, but I’m not sure that’s what it is. It has a red body, black wings, and long straight black antennas. I’m really hoping it’s not a destructive wood eater.
Signature: Sarah

Braconid, we believe

Braconid, we believe

Dear Sarah,
While we are not able to give you an exact species identification, at least we can alleviate your anxiety by informing you that this is NOT a Termite.  We are quite certain that it is a Parasitoid Wasp, and after scouring the pages of BugGuide for the past two days, we believe it is a Braconid Wasp in the family Braconidae.  Our best guess at this time is that it might be in the genus
Atanycolus, which according to BugGuide is “Next to impossible to identify this genus from images alone, however it is one of the more common genera in the subfamily” and they are found in:  “Woodland habitats for the most part.”  BugGuide continues with this information:  “Parasites of woodboring beetle larvae, especially metallic wood-boring beetles (Buprestidae) and longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae)”  Here is a somewhat similar looking individual from BugGuide.  Now, here is our theory, though you did not say much about the pile of branches, we suspect the wood may have been infested with the larvae of wood boring beetles.  The beetles do make loud noises when they emerge from the pupa and chew their way to the surface.  The appearance of these Braconids is an indication that nature is trying to balance things out.  When hosts are plentiful, predators (or in this case Parasitoids) increase in number.  The female Braconid Wasp will lay her eggs, using her ovipositor, on or near the host, meaning the wood boring beetle larvae.  When the Braconid larvae hatch, they feed on the host, eventually killing it.  Adult Braconid Wasps eventually emerge from the wood and mate to produce a new generation.  So, while this Braconid Wasp is not feeding on the wood, it is trying to control some wood eating species of beetle.  That means something is eating your wood pile.  Finally, since the individual in your image does not appear to have an ovipositor, we suspect it is a male.

Braconid, we believe

Braconid, we believe

Wow, you guys are awesome!! You really know your stuff! After breaking apart some of the branches, I did find some beetles and larvae. You nailed it! And now I’ll just leave the wasps to feast away! Thanks again!

Thanks for the confirmation.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What that bug
Location: Louisville, KY
April 17, 2016 6:17 am
What is this bug?
Signature: Email

Braconid Dead on a Fly Swatter!!!

Braconid Dead on a Fly Swatter!!!

Dear Email,
Though we find the composition and color palette of your image quite nice, we somehow can’t get past the content of the dead Braconid on a Fly Swatter.  Like their close relatives the Ichneumons, Braconids are parasitic on mostly insects but also on spiders and other arthropods, though they are generally very host specific, often to the species level.  Some Ichneumons are capable of stinging, and the same may be true for some Braconids, but not ones with highly evolved, penetrating ovipositors like the one on your specimen.  We believe your individual uses her ovipositor to deposit her eggs in the stem of a woody plant that is infested with the larvae of wood boring insects.  The black and red color pattern resembles this individual on BugGuide, though we are quite certain it is a different species.  We have to label this submission as Unnecessary Carnage, and we hope next time you encounter a Braconid, you will part ways unscathed.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  We don’t often have instances of plagiarism, but we believe we have been duped by Idk (email address name Clio Baumgardner) with this image which does not appear to have been shot by Idk, despite the claims in the body of the submission.  We overlooked the copyright information on the image which does not match either the Idk signature or the Clio Baumgardner return email address.  Once we began to suspect, after Eucharitid expert John Heraty wrote “it certainly didn’t come from California (Old World only),” we located the image on the Myrmecos Blog Best Insect Photos of 2009 and credited to Rundstedt B. Rovillos.  We also found it on FlickR where it is also credited to Rundstedt B. Rovillos.  Plainly and simply, stealing images from the internet is dishonest and it is plagiarism.  Idk is a thief.

Subject: Weird Bug
Location: California
January 10, 2016 2:41 pm
I found the super weird bug hanging in my favorite picnic spot, I’m wondering what it is! Luckily I got a clear shot of the bug. 🐜🐞🐌
Signature: Idk

Eucharitid Wasp

Eucharitid Wasp

Dear Idk,
This really is an unusual looking insect, and our gut instincts said “Parasitic Hymenopteran” however we could not find any matching images on BugGuide.  The feathered antennae are quite unusual for Hymenopterans, which include Ants, Bees and Wasps, so we did a web search of “wasp feathered antennae” and we discovered this image on FlickR that is identified as a Eucharitid Wasp from the Philippines with this information:  “Eucharitid wasps are specialized parasitoids of ants. Larvae develop inside ant nests feeding on ant brood. Adult wasps sometimes form large mating swarms in meadows, where the females oviposit in plant material. Young larvae attach themselves to passing ants, or to ant prey items, to be carried into the ant nest.”  There is another image with no information on Pinoy PHotography.  We couldn’t find any images on BugGuide with that distinctive thoracic spine, though we did find a species on BugGuide,
Pseudochalcura gibbosa, that has feathered antenna.  We found a similar image on the UC Riverside site, but there is no species name.  PBase has an Ecuadorean individual called a Bison Wasp.  We would really like to be able to provide you with a species identification, so we are contacting Eric Eaton for his input.  Could you also provide us with a city in California where this Eucharitid was sighted?  We hope they prey on invasive Argentine Ants.

Eric Eaton Responds
Hi, Daniel:
Happy New Year!
I found I already liked the Facebook page for WTB, and saw this posted there.  I have shared it with the “Hymenopterists Forum” group, which is filled with experts on all things ants, bees, and wasps.  Someone there should be able to offer help.  I’ll keep checking the results.
Eric

Identification by expert John Heraty:  Schizaspidia species
Daniel:
This, from John Heraty, a world authority on the family:
“This is Schizaspidia (Eucharitidae), but it certainly didn’t come from California (Old World only).”
Eric

We write back to Idk for clarification.
Hi again Idk,
Please clarify where in California this image was shot as it is not a California species.  It is also curious that the name on the file is Rundstedt B Rovillos, which is different from the Idk you signed and the Clio Baumgardner return address on the email.

We write to Rundstedt.
Dear Rundstedt,
This gorgeous image was just submitted to What’s That Bug? and after posting it and having it identified as a Schizaspidia species thanks to the opinion of Eucharitid expert John Heraty, we realized that the image was plagiarized from the internet.  We hope you will allow us to continue to keep the image on our site, correctly credited to you.
Daniel Marlos

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. I am the owner of this image.This tiny wasp was photographed at La Mesa Ecopark located in Fairview, Quezon City Philippines several years ago.
Yes, you may keep this image on your site to inform others about this beautiful creature.
Cheers!
Rundstedt Rovillos

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what is this
Location: waco tx
October 12, 2015 6:45 pm
Don’t know what this bug is.. it’s in my house
Signature: what is it

Chalcid Wasp

Chalcid Wasp

There is not enough detail in your image for us to make a definite species identification, but the rear legs indicate that this is a Chalcidid, a parasitic wasp in the family Chalcididae.  It resembles this image from BugGuide of a member of the genus Conura.  Many members of the family pictured on BugGuide have the distinctive rear legs and this information is provided regarding diet:  “hosts: mostly Lepidoptera and Diptera, though a few attack Hymenoptera, Coleoptera or Neuroptera(1). Parasites of Lepidoptera usually attack young pupae, while those of Diptera attack mature larvae.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination