Currently viewing the category: "Braconids and Chalcids"

Subject:  Stumpstabber – Megarhyssa sp.
Geographic location of the bug:  Sierra Nevada range route 88
Date: 06/23/2020
Time: 01:40 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My friend took this pic and because she knows my love of all things “bug” asked if I could find out anything about it.  Been doing some poking around and the  closest I could find was family Ichneunonidae Megarhyssa nortoni.  It’s quite striking in coloration.  Just wanted to share because I haven’t found a photo anywhere that matches
How you want your letter signed:  Terriann

Parasitic Wasp

Dear Terriann,
This is definitely a member of the superfamily Ichneumonoidea that includes the family Braconidae as well as the Ichneumon, and we believe this might be a Braconid, possibly in the genus
Atanycolus that is represented on BugGuide.  A definitive identification might not be possible as this is a huge superfamily with many unidentified members.  According to BugGuide:  “Next to impossible to identify this genus from images alone, however it is one of the more common genera in the subfamily. Identification of images on this guide page are NOT absolute! “

Subject:  Emperor moth caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Plettenberg Bay. South Africa
Date: 01/02/2020
Time: 03:26 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugma:  We have noticed these beautiful caterpillars at the same time each year. This year quite a few of them have “eggs” attached to them. It looks like these caterpillars die. Could this be a parasite wasp?
How you want your letter signed:  Jenny

Cabbage Emperor Moth Caterpillars with parasitoid Wasp Pupae

Dear Jenny,
We believe we already responded to a comment you posted to another posting on our site.  Alas, these Cabbage Emperor Moth Caterpillars,
Bunaea alcinoe, appear to have fallen victim to a parasitoid Wasp, probably a Braconid or Chalcid Wasp.  According to Siyabona Africa:  “The Bunaea alcinoe (common emperor) caterpillars mentioned above, had been discovered by a tiny specie of the large family of parasitoid Braconid wasps (Braconidae). The adult wasp had penetrated the live caterpillar(s) with her ovipositor and laid eggs inside the caterpillar. The eggs had hatched into larvae which fed within the caterpillar.  The larvae, on reaching full size, cut their way out of the caterpillar and formed tiny, white cocoons, within which they pupated, on the outside of the caterpillar. Within a few days the mature wasps cut their way out of the cocoons to repeat the cycle. The caterpillars, denuded of their nutrients and depending on their rate of leaf consumption, slowly shrivel and die.”

Many thanks for this detailed and interesting reply. Much appreciated.
Kind regards

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Niagara Ontario area
Date: 09/04/2018
Time: 11:16 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This caterpillar was hanging on my tomato plant with all these white things on it.
Next morning it was on the ground with most of the white things off of it.
How you want your letter signed:  Pina

Dead Tobacco Hornworm with Braconid Pupae

Dear Pina,
This Tobacco Hornworm or Carolina Sphinx is quite dead, but while it was still alive, it was parasitized by a Braconid Wasp.  When the wasp larvae hatched, they feed on the non-vital tissues of the hornworm until they were ready to leave the host and pupate.  The white things are the Braconid pupae.

Subject:  Yellow winged tiny wasp like insects
Geographic location of the bug:  California
Date: 08/31/2018
Time: 01:34 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this on my car and i never seen this before i tried looking it up on internet but no pics or anything wondering if you can help please im curious
How you want your letter signed:  Adrian Barbosa

Chalcidid Wasp

Dear Adrian,
This is a parasitoid Chalcidid Wasp, probably in the genus
Conura, formerly Spilochalcis.  According to BugGuide:  “most attack Lepidoptera pupae; a few parasitize Coleoptera (Chrysomelidae, Curculionidae) and Diptera (Syrphidae); some are secondary parasites of Ichneumonidae and Braconidae.”

Chalcidid Wasp

Subject:  Caterpillar Found on a tomato plant
Geographic location of the bug:  Bridgeview, IL
Date: 08/25/2018
Time: 10:09 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Are those eggs on it’s back?  Do i need to worry?
How you want your letter signed:  Steve Guptill

Parasitized Tobacco Hornworm

Dear Steve,
Your caterpillar is a Tobacco Hornworm, and what you have mistaken for eggs are the pupae of a parasitic Braconid Wasp.

Subject:  Stickbug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Silver Spring, MD
Date: 08/12/2018
Time: 12:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this in the back yard.  Looks like there maybe eggs on its back.  Is it going to mess up my garden?
How you want your letter signed:  Gene

Parasitized Inchworm with Chalcid Pupae

Dear Gene,
Your “stickbug” is an Inchworm or Spanworm, the caterpillar of a moth in the family Geometridae, and they are excellent twig mimics.  What you have mistaken for eggs are actually the pupae of parasitoid Chalcid Wasps.  Here is a similarly parasitized Inchworm on BugGuide and here is an image of the Chalcid Wasp that emerged, also on BugGuide.