Currently viewing the category: "Braconids and Chalcids"
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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.”

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Subject: Is this a momma with her babies?
Location: Holly Springs, MS.
September 6, 2015 6:36 pm
Hi Bugman!
I saw these little white “things” on my boxwood bush and thought for a split second something had flowered. Upon closer inspection this was a large green caterpillar with a serious looking spike on its tail. I wondered if these are babies attached to her? She was VERY AGGRESSIVE when I tried to handle her. I carefully placed her back on the bush after these pics!
Signature: Stephanie Berry (former bug queen of the day)

Hornworm Parasitized by Braconids

Hornworm Parasitized by Braconids

Dear Stephanie,
Your caterpillar is a Hornworm in the family Sphingidae, and as the caterpillar is a larva, it is not able to reproduce until it becomes a winged adult moth.  This Hornworm has been parasitized by a Braconid Wasp, and the white “things” are the wasp pupae.  The larval Braconid Wasps have been internally feeding on the Hornworm, which is eaten alive.  The adult Braconid Wasps will soon emerge and the Hornworm will die before becoming an adult.  We have not been able to identify the species of Hornworm and we cannot find any information on Hornworms feeding on Boxwood.

Thank you for all the wonderful information!  That’s so sad that the caterpillar was being eaten alive 🙁
I’ve lived here almost 13 years and this is the first time I’ve seen one of these.
Thank you for all you do!!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Are these wasp larvae on a laurel sphinx caterpillar?
Location: Michigan
August 27, 2015 6:21 pm
I found this intriguing caterpillar today, and I think it is a laurel sphinx caterpillar. But what are those things on its back? Could those be wasp larvae?
Signature: J. McGuire

Laurel Sphinx Caterpillar with Parasites

Laurel Sphinx Caterpillar with Parasites

Dear J. McGuire,
We agree that this is a Laurel Sphinx Caterpillar, and it does appear to have parasites, however, the parasitoid looks very different from the typical Braconid infestation pictured on Featured Creatures that is typically seen on the Laurel Sphinx and other Hornworms.  We will continue to try to locate a similar looking image and try to identify the species of Parasitoid.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillars in Costa Rica
Location: Monteverde, Costa Rica
April 24, 2015 10:28 am
What are these caterpillars, what are they going to turn into, why do they clump like this, and why does one (lower right) appear to have white things on it?
Signature: Ashley from the Monteverde Institute

Nymphalidae Caterpillars

Moth Caterpillars

Dear Ashley,
We believe these Caterpillars are in the Brush Footed Butterfly family Nymphalidae, and the caterpillar in question appears to have been parasitized by a Chalcid or Braconid Wasp.  We will contact Keith Wolfe to see if he can identify the caterpillars more specifically.

Nymphalidae Caterpillar parasitized by Wasp

Moth Caterpillar parasitized by Wasp

Keith Wolfe provides a correction
Hi Daniel,
Nope, these are immature moths, the scoli (spines) being much too long for any Neotropical nymphalid.
Best wishes,
Keith

After Keith Wolfe’s correction, we are now speculating that they are relatives of Buck Moths in the subfamily Hemileucinae and we will see if Bill Oehlke can provide any information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination