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Photo#525624
Ichneumonid reared from caterpillar - male

Ichneumonid reared from caterpillar - Male
Slidell, Pearl River WMA, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, USA
March 26, 2011
Size: 9mm
I reared this from a small green inchworm I was attempting to rear. This is an especially handsome wasp!

Images of this individual: tag all
Ichneumonid reared from caterpillar - male Ichneumonid reared from caterpillar - male Ichneumonid reared from caterpillar - male Ichneumonid reared from caterpillar - male Ichneumonid reared from caterpillar - male Ichneumonid reared from caterpillar Ichneumonid host's head capsule

Moved
Moved from Ichneumon Wasps.

Inchworm?
Unless my preliminary assessment is incorrect, I wouldn't expect this to be reared from a geometrid larva. Where was the caterpillar feeding when it was collected?

 
You're probably right that it
You're probably right that it wasn't a geometrid, it may have been a noctuid or another caterpillar with the inchworm-style gait. I remember it being neon green with minimal patterning.

The caterpillar was collected in the daytime, from a tree at the border of a forested swamp. Unfortunately I don't recall the host plant.

 
-
I am thinking that the critter is a species of Atrophini, and if that is correct, I presume that the critter would have been feeding in a leaf roll or other concealed condition and would have been reachable there by virtue of the long ovipositor of the female. I would have thought, though, that such species would pupate in their concealed location rather than emerging from it and crawling or dropping to the ground.

 
The caterpillar was collected
The caterpillar was collected on a field trip to the swamp, and one of the students handed it to me. It is very plausible that it came from within a leaf roll, since I recall pointing out leaf shelters as a good place to search. I brought it back in a vial, and in some combination or another, the caterpillar and/or wasp spun the mass of silk in the other image, and then the wasp emerged. I thought I saw the caterpillar spinning the silk, but it may have been the emergent wasp larva, I didn't look too carefully at the time.

 
Another clue?
For all the information I'm missing, I did save the pupal casing (just took a photo) and it looks like the wasp emerged after the cocoon was spun but before the caterpillar pupated. Is that plausible?

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