Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes


Glyptapanteles? - Microplitis

Glyptapanteles? - Microplitis
Pine Brook, Isanti County, Minnesota, USA
June 4, 2020
Size: ~ 5 mm
I found this/these apparently glued, together, to our deck railing, I suspect by way of the cocooning wasp, but once pulled away they separated. When I checked the container on 6/7 I was much surprised to find them again attached in a similar way (the caterpillar I could now see grasping the wasp cocoon with most of its prolegs). That sparked a memory of a report I'd read of some other caterpillar parasitoid hijacking its prey into acting as its 'zombie' bodyguard. And, indeed, when I repeatedly lightly touched the rear portions of the caterpillar, near the wasp cocoon, the caterpillar would repeatedly vigorously twitch back and (perhaps) bite with its mandibles. The action seemed reflexive, too quick and too small-scale to see in fine detail or to capture with still photos. The reaction did not cease in the several and more times I tried it. I suspect this is another example of a parasitoid altering the host/victim behavior. Only sorry I don't know how to use my camera video!
The caterpillar is Amphipyra pyramidoides. Though quite small (~ 12-15 mm; hard to measure well), I suspect this is either a penultimate instar or early final instar caterpillar. The dark wound, I assume, is where the wasp larva exited. I hope to obtain an adult wasp to post.
A bit of online searching turned up a photo of a similar situation involving a plusiine caterpillar.

Images of this individual: tag all
Glyptapanteles? - Microplitis Glyptapanteles? - Microplitis Glyptapanteles? - Microplitis Glyptapanteles? - Microplitis Glyptapanteles? - Microplitis Glyptapanteles? - Microplitis

Moved from Microgastrinae.

Moved from Frass.

Jim, you are free to tag and move
your own images wherever you like. You don't need to wait for George to do it.

I'll do that.

Moved from Microgastrinae.

Duplicate image.

I purposely reposted as I wanted people more interested in parasitoids than in Amphipyra to see it! And, anyhow, while the same image, the posting is not in other ways identical.

Your Image
Do with them as you please. Personally I think we have more than enough images of Amphipyra so maybe just pick whichever text you prefer and place it under the parasitoid.

I have posted a different image
to represent Amphipyra pyramidoides. I think it's good to promote context. So now when someone looks at Amphipyra, they also may make a connection to the parasitoid.

Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click 'Save settings' to activate your changes.