Currently viewing the category: "Braconids and Chalcids"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Identify
Location: Memphis TN
July 24, 2017 8:57 pm
These were in my friends house and we don’t know what they are. Ranged in size from an ant to a large housefly.
Signature: Kim Hicks

Chalcidid Wasps

Dear Kim,
These look like parasitoid Chalcid Wasps to us, but upon researching that possibility, we learned on BugGuide that:  “The terms ‘chalcid’ and ‘chalcid wasp’ typically refer to the whole superfamily Chalcidoidea, so it is best to use ‘chalcidid’ when specifically referring to this family.”  Following that advice, we believe this is a Chalcidid Wasp.  According to BugGuide:  “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.

Chalcidid Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: assassin? wasp?
Location: Bethesda, MD
July 13, 2017 7:22 am
Found this on my potted hosta in Bethesda Maryland, July 2017.
I took the photos myself.
I’m downloading a couple of images, but the edited images at this link to my blog are much better:
http://www.margaretsoltan.com/?p=55558
Signature: Margaret Soltan

Braconid Wasp

Dear Margaret,
This beautiful creature is a parasitoid Braconid Wasp, and we believe it is
Atanycoius longicauda based on this BugGuide image.  BugGuide states of the genus:  “Parasites of woodboring beetle larvae, especially metallic wood-boring beetles (Buprestidae) and longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae).”

Braconid Wasp

Daniel:  Thank you!  I appreciate the identification (I’ve spent fruitless hours looking at images), and I really appreciate the quick reply.   And I’m glad you agree it’s beautiful.
All best, Margaret

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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