Friday, 27 December 2013

Hyposoter placidus (Desvignes).

Hyposoter placidus is one of the two common parasitoids hosted by the Small Copper butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas). This male emerged from a caterpillar found in early May on Baildon Bank, VC64.
The caterpillar, which had been feeding on potted Sheep's sorrel, sought out a sheltered place underneath the pot where it became mummified before it could pupate.
The adult Ichneumon emerged on 9th June 2013.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Cotesia cuprea (Lyle)

A larva of Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) that I found feeding on Sheep's sorrel (Rumex acetosella) on Baildon Bank (VC64) has been the victim of a parasitoid attack.
I can count seven woolly braconid cocoons underneath the larva and I suspect that these will belong to Cotesia cuprea (Lyle).
It is gregarious, killing the host as a final instar larva, and sometimes reasonably common from the host (though the Hyposoter that mummifies the larva is often commoner). A brood in single figures would be quite unusual and they can sometimes number twenty or more.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Aleiodes sp. near borealis

An adult Aleiodes has emerged through a subapical exit hole, chewed through the skin, towards the caudal end of its mummified host.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Caterpillar mummified by Aleiodes sp. near borealis

On 1st February 2013 I found this mummified noctuid caterpillar attached to a gorse flower on Baildon Moor, VC64.
 This is likely to have played host to the parasitoid currently named Aleiodes borealis, which has a rather broad host range of moth larvae in the overwintering generation, especially Xestia and Noctua species.
The RES handbook "CLASSIFICATION AND BIOLOGY OF BRACONID WASPS" (Shaw & Huddlestone) states that "In most cases the host is killed when only partly grown and the mummy is stuck to the foodplant (or often another substrate, following a well characterised behavioural change by the stricken host) by mean of a gluey fluid through an antero-ventral slit cut in the host integument by the fully grown parasitoid larva".