Currently viewing the category: "Braconids and Chalcids"
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Subject: Fairy Fly
Location: Orlando, FL
February 7, 2014 6:24 pm
Hi Bugman,
I found this cool little Fairy Fly while going through a trap sample today at work, and I took the opportunity to take a size comparison photo with a grain of sand. I noticed that there aren’t many Fairy Fly photos up on What’s That Bug, so I thought I’d submit the little guy.
Signature: Brian

Fairy Fly

Fairy Fly

Hi Brian,
Thanks so much for sending us your photo of a Fairy Fly, the common name for a Parasitic Hymenopteran in the family Mymaridae which are classified with the Chalcid Wasps.  As you indicated, we only have a single, very old image of a Fairy Fly in our archives.
  According to BugGuide, Fairy Flies parasitize the eggs of other insects and they are:  “Fairly characteristic in habitus and do not closely resemble any other chalcidoids. The most easily observable characters are(2):
stalked, narrowly elongate hindwing
long clubbed female antennae (filiform in males)
greatly reduced venation which terminates within the first third of the wing (except in Arescon and Krokella)
no discernible stigmal or postmarginal vein
tarsi may be 4- or 5-segmented
antennal toruli widely separated
vertex surrounded by thickened bands of cuticle and separated from the face by a suture.”
While we don’t fully understand all of that, we are providing the information for our readers.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: White Flank Orange Braconid Wasp
Location: Millicent South Australia
January 13, 2014 11:48 pm
Quite common in this area along dirt roads.
A friend’s daughter crash her car thinking the insect would sting her.
Signature: Ken de Low

Braconid Wasp

Braconid Wasp

Hi Ken,
We agree that this is a Braconid Wasp, but it is not the same as the White Flank Orange Braconid,
Callibracon species, that is pictured on the Brisbane Insect Website.  There are many Australian Braconids with this same general color pattern.  We are sorry to hear about your friend’s daughter’s car crash, but it wouldn’t be the first time the irrational fear of an insect in the car has caused an accident.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Parasites On Tomato Hornworm
Location: Tampa, Florida
September 22, 2013 5:17 pm
Dear What’s That Bug,
We are HUGE fans, for many years. Here is a great shot we though you’d enjoy! We sure enjoyed watching the bug show!
Signature: Bug Love, Ana & Cory

Parasitized Hornworm

Parasitized Hornworm:  Rustic Sphinx, we believe

Hi Ana & Cory,
This is definitely a parasited Hornworm, and the parasites are Braconids, however, we do not believe this is either a Tomato Hornworm or a Tobacco Hornworm.  The caudal horn does not resemble either species and the caterpillar appears to be feeding on some plant other than a member of the family Solanacea.  Compare your caterpillar to the images of a Tomato Hornworm or Five Spotted Hakmoth on Sphingidae of the Americas, and to the photos of a Tobacco Hornworm or Carolina Sphinx also on Sphingidae of the Americas.  Can you provide the name of the plant for us?  That might help assist in the species identification for your caterpillar.  Our best guess is that this might be the caterpillar of a Rustic Sphinx.  Compare the texture on the caudal horn and the head of your individual to the images posted to Sphingidae of the Americas and to BugGuide.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for responding!  I have to admit, that since I’m such a huge fan, I was on cloud nine all day from your nice response. Years ago, when I began college, I was curious about insects, and your site really inspired me to learn more. I learned so much from you. Now I’m a science teacher, and we play with bugs every chance we get, and my students are encouraged to catch them and display them (alive) in the classroom for a few days. You’ve never taught a lesson, until a giant katydid crawled on your (and your students’) arms! Cory is an environmental scientist and a lover of all “bugs” as well. He was also the photographer of this stunning shot.
After your help, we concur that it is a Rustic Sphinx Caterpillar. He/she was on a Beauty Berry, callicarpa americana, that is in my front yard. After research, the beauty berry is a rustic sphinx moth host plant. I can’t wait to share this with my students tomorrow. Unfortunately for the caterpillar (and the Braconids), it was eaten by a bird 🙁
Thanks again for your reply. We absolutely love what you do!
Ana & Cory
Tampa, FL

Hi again Ana & Cory,
Thank you for your inspirational email.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: unknown parasite of Acronicta oblinita
Location: Marsh in Salamonie Reservoir, NE Indiana
September 12, 2013 7:30 am
Bugman,
On Aug. 24 you helped my mother identify the Smartweed Caterpillar / Smeared Dagger Moth (Acronicta oblinita) that I found on a Rose Milkweed (Ascelpias incarnata) in a marsh. I collected another from a willow branch and brought it home. It stopped moving completely and even starting spinning a strange web. To my wife’s horror, dozens of small yellow parasites slowly emerged from its side as it was still (apparently?) alive. They all seemed to perish in the hot sun and the ants had a feast. Photo attached.
I searched Google Scholar for some clues…
I see a 1903 reference to a ”Rhogas rileyi Cress” being parasitic, mentioning the silk I saw (p. 24 here: http://bit.ly/1atDh3W). However, I cannot find R. rileyi Cress in recent mention so I wonder if the name has been updated. I see a recent publication noting that the parasitic wasp Aleiodes rileyi Cresson often chooses A. oblinita as a host, but it did not seem to undergo the mummification described.
Signature: Adam Thada

Parasitized Smartweed Caterpillar

Parasitized Smartweed Caterpillar

Hi Adam,
We are very impressed with your research, but in our opinion, the parasites that emerged from the Smartweed Caterpillar look more like fly larvae to us, so with that in mind, we would lean more toward this being an instance of parasitization by Tachinid Fly.  We have not been able to uncover any evidence, and that is just our first impression.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck determining What Parasitized the Smartweed Caterpillar?

Parasitized Smartweed Caterpillar

Parasitized Smartweed Caterpillar

Comment courtesy of Erwin
Subject: What Parasitized the Smartweed Caterpillar???
December 13, 2013 5:45 am
Hi,
Going through some older posts I found one submitted on Sept.13, 2013 by Adam Thada. These parasites are Braconidae for sure. Braconidae (genus Apanteles and others) are well known as parasites of Acronycta caterpillars.
Here you can see as an example larvae of Braconidae coming out of a caterpillar of Pieris sp.
(Please scroll down)
Signature: Erwin Beyer

Hi Erwin,
Your comment was written as though you provided a link by indicating to “scroll down”.  We did not get the link.

Subject: here is the link
December 13, 2013 9:04 am
Dear Daniel,
here is the required link: http://www.ingana.de/html_insekten/hymenoptera/hymenoptera-hautfluegler-wespen-schlupfwespen.html
Signature: Erwin Beyer

The Braconids in the link you provided look exactly like the ones submitted to us.  Thanks Erwin.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Caterpillar
Location:  Edon, Ohio
September 17, 2012
Daniel,
Sorry to bother you through your personal email.  For some reason I can not get my pictures to send through the web site.
I have begun the task of trying to identify the caterpillars I have pictures of.  (I am having trouble finding a good resource for this.  I keep going through page after page and can not find what I have…. but anyway…)  I have one from N.W. Ohio, I believe it is a sphynx moth.  Possibly the great oak.  The picture was taken at the end of September of 2007.  My question is more about the little “sacks” that appear to be attatched all over it.  I was not sure if they were egg sacks or parasites.  Have you ever seen anything like this before?
Janet Fox
Picture from Edon, Ohio

Tobacco Sphinx parasitized by Chalcids

Hi Janet,
This is a Tobacco Sphinx,
Manduca sexta, one of the species of Hornworms that are frequently found feeding on the leaves of tomato plants.  It has been parazitized by a Braconid Wasp.  The larval wasps feed on the internal organs and then emerge to pupate.  Alas, this Tobacco Sphinx did not live to maturity.  See BugGuide for confirmation.

Wow!  I didn’t think we would have one of those in Ohio… since there are no tobacco plants up there.  My book didn’t even show a tobacco sphynx.  I know I had just never seen one with those sacks hanging on one before.  Thanks for clearing that up.
You guys do a wonderful job and are very helpful.
Janet

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What’s this bug
Location: West Virginia
June 30, 2011 2:53 pm
Hi there. I have seen this guy twice now and have no idea what kind of critter it is. Any ideas? Thanks much.
Signature: Bill Wells

Tomato Hornworm parasitized by Braconid Wasp

Hi Bill,
The caterpillar is a Tomato Hornworm, and it has been parasitized by a Braconid Wasp.  The female Braconid Wasp lays her eggs inside the body of the Hornworm, and the larval wasps feed on the tissues of the Hornworm.  Eventually, the Braconid Larvae burrow to the surface and form cocoons, which is what you are seeing.  Here is a nice set of images from BugGuide.  The Hornworm will not live to metamorphose into a moth.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination